Public comments being accepted on Dolores County 3D seismic project

DOLORES - The U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management have released an Pre-decisional Environmental Assessment (EA) on a proposal to conduct a three-dimensional (3D) seismic survey on 121 square miles of the San Juan National Forest and BLM lands in Dolores County. This proposal would involve an exploratory, shot-hole, three-dimensional seismic survey of the Doe Canyon Deep Unit northwest of Dolores. The area includes the Glade, Benchmark Mountain, Narraguinnep Canyon and Dolores River Canyon. The project would be conducted by Kinder Morgan LLC, Inc.

The proposed project includes the use of helicopters, portable drill rigs, detonation of small explosive charges within shot-holes and receiver arrays to record seismic data and map underground geology. Public comments received during scoping were considered in the development of two action alternatives and additional project design criteria. All project vehicles would use open or administrative-use roads only. Project activities would be deferred during critical big-game winter habitat and calving seasons, and would avoid Glade Lake and other large wetlands. In addition, no shot-holes are proposed in Dolores River Canyon or Narraguinnep Canyon.

The seismic survey would target carbon dioxide (CO2) reservoirs in areas where underground minerals are leased to Kinder Morgan LLC, Inc., as defined by the Doe Canyon Deep Unit boundaries. The purpose and need is to facilitate the exploration and development of granted mineral rights, while minimizing effects to natural resources. This 3D seismic project would be conducted for geologic mapping only and does not include proposals for exploratory drilling or well development. Any future proposals would require separate analysis and approval.

The responsible official for the involved USFS lands is Derek Padilla, District Ranger, Dolores Ranger District. For the involved BLM lands, the responsible official is Connie Clementson, Field Manager, Tres Rios Field Office. The pre-decisional EA is now available for public review and comment. Hard copies are available at the Dolores Public Lands Office and public libraries in Mancos, Cortez, Dolores and Dove Creek. The EA can also be downloaded from the San Juan National Forest projects website at: www.fs.usda.gov/goto/sanjuan/projects.

Written comments will be accepted until Wednesday, Feb. 6. Comments can be mailed to District Ranger Derek Padilla, Dolores Public Lands Office, 29211 Highway 184, Dolores, CO 81323. Electronic comments can be emailed to: comments-rocky-mountain-san-juan-mancos-dolores@fs.fed.us.

For more information, contact Robert Garrigues at 970-882-6845.

Comments received in response to this solicitation, including names and addresses of those who comment will be considered part of the public record on this proposed action and will be available for public inspection. Comments submitted anonymously will be accepted and considered; however, those who only submit anonymous comments will not have standing to appeal the subsequent decision under 36 CFR Part 215.