From the pages of
Pinedale Roundup
Volume 104, Number 45 - November 8, 2007
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Jonah Field man camp decision delayed

by Alecia Warren

The Bureau of Land Management still hasn’t reached a decision about approving the relocation of the EnSign man camp from Big Piney to the Jonah Field, and locals might not witness a conclusion to the issue for some time.

BLM planning and environmental coordinator Caleb Hiner said he has “no idea” when the agency will determine if the dozen mobile structures will move to a 20-acre lot on the gas field, thereby reducing workers’ daily commutes from about an hour to only five minutes.

“We thought we would have a decision right away, but it just hasn’t happened yet,” Hiner said.

Although oil and gas operator EnCana submitted the request this summer, the BLM has been distracted with higher priorities like the Record of Decision for the Pinedale Anticline. The public commentary session for the move ended on Oct. 15. Although most of the opinions were positive, agreeing that the dramatic reduction in traffic on highways 191 and 351 could potentially save lives and wildlife, a few Big Piney locals rued the loss of man camp residents’ business, particularly at local convenience stores where the 150 men often stocked up on food, gas and cigarettes. EnCana spokesperson Randy Teeuwen said the EnSign rig workers who call the temporary facilities home, however, are looking forward to the move.

“This would be a big help in the winter, with road conditions and safety issues and shorter days,” Teeuwen said of the commute to the field.

The company hopes to build the camp infrastructure and move the facilities before snowfall prolongs the plan for months, he said.

“We would like the BLM to make a decision as soon as possible,” he said. “I think we understand that they have their process that they need to go through, but we know a decision is imminent and we’re patiently waiting.”

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