BLM seeking public input on drilling plan south of New Castle |

BLM seeking public input on drilling plan south of New Castle

John Gardner
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” The Bureau of Land Management Glenwood Springs Energy Office is seeking public comment on Orion Energy’s “Kokopelli” Master Development Plan (KMDP).

The KMDP describes a proposal for exploration and development on 2,240 acres on Jolley Mesa south of New Castle and just to the west of the Garfield Creek State Wildlife area. The proposal details plans to drill up to 186 wells over a four to seven year period with six proposed, and 10 existing, well pads according to a release from the BLM.

Construction of up to 2.5 miles of new access roads and up to 2.5 miles of pipelines would also be associated with this development.

This proposal arises from the implementation of private mineral drilling that successfully demonstrated the potential of the Jolley Mesa area to contain “economically viable reserves of natural gas,” the proposal reads.

The BLM’s jurisdiction covers 1,200 acres in the proposal: 520 acres with Federal surface and minerals, and 680 acres with private surface and Federal minerals. The remaining 1,040 acres planned for development are private surface and mineral ownership.

While the Colorado Division of Wildlife has worked with Orion Energy to develop a surface use agreement for the state wildlife area, Northwest Regional Manager Ron Velarde said that he still opposes development in the area.

“I don’t support energy development on the wildlife area. I’ve said that from the beginning,” Velarde said. “But understanding that we don’t own the mineral rights, we don’t have a say in the matter. So, we’ve moved on.”

Currently, the DOW is working on surface use agreements for four future well pads in the area, according to Velarde. He also said that the DOW is currently reviewing the KMDP and after discussions will make recommendations to the BLM.

Public comment and review of the entire plan will help BLM to better Analyze the expected impacts and how to minimize them before committing to an environmental assessment.

Steve Bennett, Associate Field Manager for the Glenwood Springs Field Office said, “Before we begin an Environmental Assessment on this proposal, we want to hear any specific concerns and comments the public may have.”

The BLM is requesting that comments be received by February 16. Written comments and questions should be directed to the Glenwood Springs Energy Office at 2425 S. Grand Ave. Suite 101, Glenwood Springs, CO 81601. Electronic comments may be submitted to

Copies of the KMDP are available for review at the BLM Glenwood Springs Energy Office. Digital copies of the KMDP and project map are available at

Contact John Gardner: 384-9114

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