From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 7, Number 42 - January 10, 2008
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Season Opens For Public Hearings, Comments
Fremont Lake, Anticline SEIS, wolf rules draft plans dominate January
by Joy Ufford

It’s open season for public comments on a variety of issues near and dear not only to Pinedale and Sublette County but also to citizens across the state and perhaps the country.

The resulting mix could make this month’s calendar read like a bad batch of alphabet soup.

These draft plans (with accompanying public meetings and comment periods) range from the Bridger-Teton Pinedale Ranger District’s recently released “Fremont Lake Recreation Analysis Area” projects proposal, to the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) newly Revised Draft Supplemental Environmental Statement (RDSEIS) for the Pinedale Anticline Project Area (PAPA), to the Wyoming Game and Fish’s (G&F) two proposed regulation for gray wolf control and management.

• Fremont Lake Recreation Area: The Pinedale Ranger District is proposing a series of recreation development projects to replace and/or upgrade facilities and access on forest lands around the lake.

The public comment period ends Jan. 14, only one month after the proposal was released by District Ranger Tom Peters.

An Interdisciplinary Team (IDT) has identified the preliminary issues as: water quality (increased protection with the lake being Pinedale’s unfiltered drinking-water source); cultural resources (with enhanced protection for Native American and Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) sites and features); visual quality (to design facilities to blend into Fremont Lake’s “aesthetic value”) and mule deer migration corridor (south of the lake, where projects and events should be planned to minimize disturbances during critical wildlife periods).

For example, some proposed changes include gating the popular Sylvan Bay Day-Use Site, closing the road off to any access but by boating or hiking to the beach; converting the Stuart Flat Area to a day-use site and removing all but specific access roads; moving and redesigning facilities at the Sandy Beach Swim and Picnic Area; and prohibiting dispersed camping within 200 feet of Fremont Lake.

Other goals stated in the proposal are to make facilities ADA-compliant and to design them with a unified design theme, in certain sites, that reflects their CCC-era development.

Comments can be written, faxed, hand-delivered or electronically mailed to the Pinedale District Ranger. The mailing address is 29 E. Fremont Lake Rd., PO Box 220, Pinedale, WY 82922; the fax number is 307-367-5750; emails in Rich Text Format or Word can be sent to

• Revised Draft SEIS for the Pinedale Anticline: The BLM will host a public forum Jan. 17 at the Pinedale Library to discuss and take comments on the new Alternatives D and E that are included in the revised draft. The public comment period ends Feb. 11.

The meeting is set from noon to 4 p.m.; the opportunity to comment will be from 6 to 9 p.m.

These options, developed after previous public comment, including some mega-bucks’ worth of voluntary industry commitments if the final plan allows year-round drilling in the Anticline.

The “Preferred Alternative D” is based on an expanded proposal by Questar, Shell and Ultra (joined by BP, Stone/Newfield, Yates and Anschutz) to conduct year-round drilling of exploratory and production wells on their leases within the Anticline’s existing natural gas fields. They request drilling another 4,399 wells from another 250 well pads over 60 years with relaxed seasonal restrictions.

It is divided into five “development areas” and a surrounding “potential development area” where, the draft says, it is assumed year-round drilling will also take place.

Many of the concentrated areas of development are heavily used by big game for migration routes, winter range and birthing grounds and are very close to known inuse sage-grouse leks, maps show.

In return, the companies have “offered to conduct no additional activity on certain leases in the Flanks... for at least five years.” Also, they “have voluntarily proposed the creation of the ($36 million) Pinedale Anticline Mitigation and Monitoring Fund to mitigate potential impacts identified in the Draft SEIS.”

Alternative E slows the pace by about 10 years with construction through 2015, drilling through 2033 and production through 2073. It also calls for 4,399 more wells, has an air quality impact analyses based on a peak of 48 drilling rigs and contains the existing management areas’ 1 through 9 (MAs) objectives and limitations in a core of 45,415 acres with a buffer (24,875 acres) and flanks.

Current seasonal restrictions would be observed for delineation well drilling, concentrated development and drilling rig movement except where allowed (for Questar through 2013-2014) per the BLM.

Alternative E holds no industrysponsored wildlife and habitat mitigation plan or matrix, or industry compensatory mitigation or emissions reductions. These are provided by the “BLM’s incorporation of environmental Best Management Practices by the operator under all alternatives...” Proponent-committed mitigation varies by alternative.”

The RSDEIS is available at and at the Pinedale Field Office. Written comments can be sent to the BLM, Project Manager Caleb Hiner, PO Box 768, 1625 W. Pine St., Pinedale, WY 82922. Emails may be sent to WYMail_PAPA_YRA@

• Draft Game and Fish Gray Wolf Regulations: The Wyoming Game and Fish (G&F) is holding a public meeting Jan. 22, 7 to 9 p.m. at the Pinedale Library, for public comments on its two draft gray wolf regulations.

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