Fram plans to drill 108 oil wells in GJ watershed

Juniata Reservoir, located at the base of the Grand Mesa on Purdy Mesa east of Whitewater, is part of the Grand Junction City water storage system. The reservoir is located within the Fram Whitewater Project drilling area. [Source: Ecoflight]

PRESS RELEASE

Proposal to drill 108 oil wells in Grand Junction watershed too risky
The revised project threatens water and air quality

In late June, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released its long-awaited revised Environmental Assessment on the Fram Whitewater Project, a proposal to drill 108 oil wells in the Grand Junction watershed outside of Whitewater. Western Colorado Congress (WCC) staff and leaders have finished their analysis of the new document, along with concerns about threats to drinking water, air quality and overall quality of life for residents of the Grand Valley remain.

Your help is needed!

Help protect Grand Junction’s watershed and submit a comment to the BLM today.

Comment Guidance for Fram/Whitewater Master Development Environmental Assessment

The revised assessment does have a lot of new text, but fundamentally the project has changed very little from when WCC challenged it in 2014. Although no drilling will be occurring directly in the hydrologic watershed that feeds Grand Junction’s reservoirs, drilling pads and access roads are proposed in areas with springs and streams that supply critical water to local ranchers as well as supplemental drinking water to the city.

As WCC has learned over decades of working with landowners impacted by oil and gas development, there is no 100% safe drilling project. Accidents happen, spills and leaks occur, trucks overturn and toxic chemicals can end up in water supplies. The risks of this proposal are too great to the most precious resource in the valley — WATER.

If approved in its current state, the Fram Whitewater oil drilling project could:

  • Harm the drinking water supply. The pads are proposed in the greater Grand Junction watershed, which provides drinking water to 60,000 people as well as local farms and ranches. BLM must fully protect our drinking water.
  • Remove fresh, first use drinking water from the hydraulic cycle and permanently contaminate it for oil development. This is an inappropriate use of these resources, which should be prioritized and saved as drinking water.
  • Create more odor issues at the Deer Creek Waste Disposal pit. BLM proposes to take all of its waste water to this facility for disposal, which has been plagued with problems, negatively impacting nearby residents.
  • Harm air quality. More oil and gas development in the area could increase ozone levels and other pollutants that can cause respiratory illness.
  • Increase traffic and risk of accidents by putting 260 more vehicles on B Road, which will impact residents and businesses.
  • Negatively impact the area for other recreational uses. The area has recognized value for hunting, biking, camping, and wildlife viewing. Oil development will devalue these other uses of public land.
  • Harm wildlife. In addition to impacting desert habitat for white-tailed prairie dogs and other keystone species, oil development will also impact big game habitat in the area.

It is also clear that the BLM is working from outdated information. The Environmental Assessment is based on scoping information from 2011 and fails to offer the public a full range of alternatives to consider. BLM should re-analyze this proposal with an Environmental Impact Statement.

Here’s how you can help!

This project must be held to the highest standards possible, if allowed to happen at all. For more detailed suggestions for comments, click here.

Send your comments to BLM before August 28 to ensure your voice is heard.

Comment Guidance for Fram/Whitewater Master Development Environmental Assessment

The Mesa County Commissioners will be discussing their comments at a public meeting on Monday, August 21, at 9:00 a.m. at the Mesa Old County Court House if you would like to share your thoughts on this project with your elected officials.

Please contact Emily Hornback at WCC if you have any other questions or need more information: emily@wccongress.org

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