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Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
An oil pump works away near Roosevelt. A new oil and gas project is proposed south of Vernal.

SALT LAKE CITY — One of the most signficant oil and gas development proposals in Uintah County — expected to generate as much as $1 billion in state royalties — is open for public review with the release of an environmental impact statement.

Oil and gas development already supports about 9,200 jobs in the Uinta Basin, where the Greater Chapita Wells Natural Gas Infill Project is planned on 43,071 acres.

The project would add to 1,247 oil and gas wells already drilled in the area, with development of 2,808 oil and gas wells that would be drilled over 15 years under the proposed action. Those wells would be on pads spaced 40 acres apart.

A draft environmental impact statement recently released by the Bureau of Land Management provides details on the proposal by Houston-based EOG Resources and its plans to carry out production over 60 years. The project would produce an estimated 4.17 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 600 million barrels of condensate, which is used to make diesel, jet fuel and heating fuels.

The BLM, which first initiated public scoping of the project nine years ago, conducted a draft review looking at environmental impacts and other project considerations, including contributions to state and local economies.

Greater Chapita would generate $526 million in county and school taxes and $140 million in school trust lands revenue.

The project, according to the analysis, would disturb up to an additional 1,875 acres and included some limited development along its northern boundary and the White River.

Those impacts would have to be mitigated, as well as emissions from an area that is already struggling with ozone levels that frequently violate the federal threshold.

EOG Resources is proposing to reduce emissions of precursor pollutants that lead to the formation of ozone by having at least 51 percent of its wells hooked into a gathering system.

It will also work to reduce impacts to the federally endangered Uinta Basin hookless cactus, which grows inside the project area on a limited basis, according to the analysis.

The BLM is hosting three open houses to provide an opportunity to ask questions about the project:

• March 27, from 6 to 8 p.m., at the Uintah Conference Center, 311 E. 200 South, Vernal

• March 28, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., at the Ute Tribal Auditorium, 910 S. 7500 East, Fort Duchesne

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• March 28, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at the Duchesne County Chamber of Commerce, 50 E. 200 South, Roosevelt

The public review and comment period closes at 4:30 p.m. April 23. The BLM urges those who comment to identify issues relevant to the proposed action or those that contain new scientific or technical information.

Comments can be submitted online, via email at [email protected], faxed to 435-781-4410 or mailed to 170 S. 500 East, Vernal, Utah, 84078. The BLM asks that Greater Chapita Wells be included in the subject line.