Not far from Jackson Hole, the Hoback River is treasured for its clean water, spectacular scenery, and thriving native cutthroat trout fishery.
But natural gas drilling in the river’s headwaters threatens the Hoback and local residents with toxic pollution.
Unless the Forest Service prepares a new environmental analysis and develops a true conservation alternative that fully protects the river, the Hoback will lose its unique wild character and local citizens could face serious health risks.
The Forest Service Supervisor Jackqueline Buchanan to protect the Hoback River from natural gas fracking.
- Supervisor of Bridger-Teton National Forest
As a supporter of American Rivers, I am writing about the Plains Exploration and Production Company's (PXP) proposal to drill 136 natural gas wells using hydraulic fracturing near the headwaters of the Wild and Scenic Hoback River.
This proposal threatens water quality, native trout, big game herds and other wildlife, and cherished recreational opportunities, including fishing, hunting, and boating. Allowing industrial development in such an inappropriate location could also harm drinking water supplies for local residents and downstream users. Due to this concern over natural gas development, American Rivers has named the Hoback River one of America's Most Endangered Rivers(TM) of 2011.
I favor the purchase and permanent retirement of PXP's oil and gas leases. However, I understand that the U.S. Forest Service does not have authority to mandate this action, so I urge you to require the strictest environmental standards on this project. Please initiate a supplemental draft environmental impact statement (EIS) that includes:
1) Baseline data for air, water, and wildlife
2) A groundwater characterization study to develop a monitoring and aquifer pollution prevention plan
3) Phased development with permitting for only one well pad at a time
4) A scaled down project with fewer roads and pads, and consolidated facilities
5) Use of best available technology for emissions control, non-toxic hydraulic fracturing fluids, and no waste disposal pits or impoundments on site
6) Monitoring of air, water, and wildlife throughout the life of the project with adequate bonding
I deeply value this area for its nationally-significant water, wildlife, and scenic values. Please protect our nation's natural heritage and revise the draft EIS to include these important and necessary measures.
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