A 3,500-well natural gas project has taken a step forward. The Bureau of Land Management published the final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Jonah Energy's Normally Pressured Lance project in western Wyoming. The project would be on located over 140,000 acres.
Paul Ulrich, the director of government affairs at Jonah Energy, said he was pleased to see the final EIS show the company’s dedication to sage grouse conservation. And that the company has left extra land unexplored to maintain habitats.
Conservationists around the state though have expressed concern regarding the environmental and wildlife impacts of the project. Linda Baker with the Upper Green River Alliance pointed specifically to air quality issues, the project's proximity to a pronghorn migration corridor and critical winter habitat for sage grouse.
"This is where sage grouse go when the snow is so deep that, in the northern part of the valley, they have to go south to find forage and survive the winter. Same is true for pronghorn,” Baker said.
She said it’s true for pronghorn because they will need to find areas with forage and she worries the project will disrupt that.
"Right now, they have this winter range they have to get to, but if there’s no habitat for them to get there, no stopover points to feed them along the way, we’re going to see fewer pronghorn,” she said.
Referencing wildlife issues, Ulrich with Jonah Energy said the company has always been committed to following the science and is eager to bear it out.