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Pinedale Online!
Pinedale, Wyoming  •  www.PinedaleOnline.com
A "Slice of Life" view of Pinedale and Sublette County, Wyoming
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Early SNOTEL
Early SNOTEL Arnold Brokling went out snowmobiling again and rode past what appeared to be one of the earlier "SNOTEL" snow-depth measuring stations. "Although not equipped with all the current gadgetry, this technology seems to be very reliable and still reporting historical data from 44 years ago," he said. The line at the bottom of the carved arrow was the snow depth on January 24th, 1971. Photo by Arnold Brokling.
Spaceship clouds
Spaceship clouds Renee' Smythe sent in this photo of unusual clouds over Barger, south of Pinedale. A school of spaceship clouds? Sky pollywogs? Photo by Renee' Smythe .
Gas Prices
January 17, 2015
Pinedale2.299
Big Piney2.199
Wyoming2.083
USA2.076
Regular unleaded average.
WY & US provided by AAA.
Diesel Prices
January 17, 2015
Pinedale2.999
Big Piney3.099
Wyoming3.031
USA2.923
WY & US provided by AAA.
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Pinedale Local:

Nordic ski trail grooming report – January 24, 2015
The Virginian: Man or Myth?
Health Foundation receives donations to purchase equipment for newborns
Hank The Cowdog Radio Show Jan 24 in Big Piney
Graveside Funeral Service for Ilene Cameron Jan. 23rd in Big Piney
LaBarge Activities’ Committee 1st Annual Coyote Hunt Feb. 7th
Wyoming Legislature update Jan 19 & 20
Hay Workshop February 20th
White Pine plans 75th Anniversary celebration Jan. 24th

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Events: Click for event information
January 24: White Pine Ski Area 75th Anniversary Celebration - Historic rope tow demonstration from noon to 2PM. Live music, all-you-can-eat buffet dinner starts at 6PM. Tickets for the dinner are limited, $25/adults, $10/for kids age 10 and under. Tickets available from Rock Rabbit and Office Outlet in Pinedale. For more info call 307-367-6606.
January 29, 2015: 7 Brides for 7 Brothers - Stage play. PFAC presentation 7PM, Pinedale Auditorium. Click here for ticket info: www.PinedaleFineArts.com
January 30-February 8th: IPSSSDR - International Pedigree Stage Stop Sled Dog Race. With Stage Stops in Pinedale Feb. 4th & 5th, and Big Piney/Marbleton Feb 5th & 6th. www.wyomingstagestop.org
January 31: USA Yoga 2015 Utah/Wyoming Regional Championship in Pinedale - At the Pinedale Auditorium, 1PM. $10 admission. Doors open at 11:30AM. For more info call Wind River Yoga, 307-749-0087.
February 7: One Lunger Vintage Snowmobile Race - At Sagebrush Downs in Cora, 10AM. Registration Friday, Feb. 6th at Stockman's. Spectators $10/car load. For more info call Mike Carrillo 307-360-7954, www.pinedalesnowexplorers.com
February 14: Sunny Korfanta Giant Slalom Ski Race - At White Pine Ski Area. Sponsored by the Sublette County Ski & Snowboard Association. www,sublettecountysnowsports.org
February 27: O Sole Trio - Pinedale Fine Arts Council presentation. 7PM, Pinedale Auditorium. Click here for ticket info: www.PinedaleFineArts.com
February 28 & March 1: Big Fish Winter Derby - Sponsored by the Pinedale Boat Club and based out of Lakeside Lodge on Fremont Lake. From 7AM to 4:30PM. Call (307) 367-2524 for more details.
July 3 & 4: Chuckwagon Days in Big Piney - www.chuckwagondays.com
July 9-12, 2015: Green River Rendezvous Days - In Pinedale

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What is Pinedale Online?

Pinedale Online is Pinedale, Wyoming on the web. We give our viewers, locals and out-of-area visitors, a "slice of life" snapshot window into our world view of what is happening in Pinedale. Visit us for current local news on what is happening, photos of local events, links to area businesses and services and more. We are long-time area residents and are happy to answer questions if you are planning a visit to our area. Much of our information is by community contribution.

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Wolf Watch, by Cat Urbigkit

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Enzi: Obamacare forcing Wyoming employers to cut hours (posted 1/22/15)
Cites Rock Springs School District as example
Senator Enzi media release
Washington, D.C. – Employers are cutting employees hours and are hesitant to create new jobs in order to avoid Obamacare mandates. During a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing today (Thursday, January 22), U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyoming, spoke about how the strict Obamacare requirements that force employers to provide healthcare to their employees are hurting more than they are helping.

By defining a 30-hour work week as "full-time", Enzi explained how Obamacare is forcing business to cut employees’ hours in order to stay in business. This, according to Enzi, forces individuals to get two jobs to make up the difference. The senator discussed how a school district in Rock Springs has had to cut bus drivers and coaches in order to avoid hitting the Obamacare requirement.

"I did a tele-town hall meeting last night and the very first call was from Rock Springs, Wyoming," said Enzi. "And it was from a person working for the school district and they wanted me to know the difficulties they were having with bus drivers and coaches who are kind of volunteer or contract workers, but not really part of the school district, never expected to get any health insurance out of it, but are now placing the district in a situation where they are going to have to expend that or eliminate the service."

Enzi also noted how businesses are not expanding and creating new jobs out of fear they will trigger the Obamacare mandate.

"One of the problems I am seeing in Wyoming with the health insurance requirements is that when businesses have 50 employees that are working over 30 hours or more, then they come under this law," said Enzi. "For a start-up business, it is a particularly big problem. I have run into a number of people that said ‘Man, I got this great location in the next town over and a good price on the building. What do you think about me moving over there and starting it?’ My first questions is ‘how many employees do you have?’ and ‘How many is it going to take?’. And there answer is usually 45 at the current place, and they will need (another) 45 at the new place. They so far have all decided against expanding their business, so there are a lot of jobs going lacking out there."


Grizzly bear conflicts in the Upper Green during 2013.
Grizzly bear conflicts in the Upper Green during 2013.
Anti-Grazers threaten Grizzly lawsuit (posted 1/22/15)
Cat Urbigkit
Earthjustice attorneys, representing the Sierra Club and Western Watersheds Project, sent an official Notice of Intent to Sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and U.S. Forest Service over grizzly bear mortalities in the Upper Green River region of Sublette County. The notice is dated Jan. 14, 2015, and is a legal precursor to filing a lawsuit in federal district court.

The center of controversy is the recent FWS "No Jeopardy" determination that the potential "take" of 11 grizzly bears in a three-year period in connection with livestock grazing in the Upper Green River region of the Bridger-Teton National Forest does not jeopardize the continued existence of the species. Grizzly bears are classified as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.

The letter notes that all nine Upper Green River grazing allotments occur within occupied grizzly bear habitat, and adds that this area "has been considered a grizzly bear conflict hotspot for several years." The groups stated that in 2013, more than a third of the grizzly bear mortalities in the Greater Yellowstone region occurred in the Upper Green, despite the fact that these allotments represent only 1.7 percent of the occupied grizzly bear habitat in the ecosystem.

The Upper Green allotments are located 25-miles outside the official grizzly bear recovery zone, which is now called the primary conservation area.

Indeed, as the grizzly bear population has expanded over the last few decades, conflicts in the region have increased – despite aggressive measures to keep conflicts to a minimum.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has prepared maps demonstrating the increase in conflicts throughout the Yellowstone ecosystem as the grizzly bear population has expanded in the region. Once only seen in Yellowstone National Park, current trends in conflicts in Wyoming include roadside grizzlies, and family groups of bears in subdivisions and developed areas.

According to the state wildlife agency, with successful recovery comes increased opportunities for interactions and conflicts. Removal of grizzly bears involved in conflict situations target offending animals.

The complete 36-page Notice of Intent is linked below.

Related Links:
Notice Of Intent To Sue - Earthjustice (36 page, 1.74MB PDF)


Wolf News Roundup (posted 1/22/15)
Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
Congressional members from the Great Lakes region have teamed up with U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis to draft a bill that would have Congress delist wolves in Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Since wolves have been granted federal protection under the Endangered Species Act, only to be delisted and then relisted again due to litigation – repeatedly – a congressional fix that would preclude any further legal wrangling is being pushed by states dealing with thriving wolf populations.

Montana and Idaho are the only two states in the Lower 48 where wolves have been removed from ESA protection – and that took an act of Congress. The wolf reintroduction project that placed Canadian wolves into Yellowstone National Park and Central Idaho celebrated its 20-year anniversary this month.

In other wolf news, the controversy over Mexican wolves continues, as the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has revised the "nonessential experimental" status of wolves in the Arizona and New Mexico, while revising the Mexican wolf's listing from that connected to the general wolf listing to its new status as an "endangered" subspecies.

The new Mexican wolf regulations provide for a fourfold expansion of the area where wolves are expected to occur, and a tenfold increase in the range where wolves can be released from captivity.

FWS notes, "The Mexican wolf is the rarest, southern-most occurring, and most genetically distinct subspecies of all the North American gray wolves." It's also the smallest existing subspecies.

The current Mexican wolf recovery program is based on captive breeding from a founding population of seven wolves, with only about 75 wolves currently living in the wild.

Related Links:
Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel - Read about Congressional action.
Mexican Wolf Recovery - Read about Mexican Wolf recovery actions here.
Wolf Watch - by Pinedale Online!


Live performance January 29, 2015. PFAC presentation.
Live performance January 29, 2015. PFAC presentation.
PFAC brings Seven Brides for Seven Brothers to Pinedale Jan. 29 (posted 1/21/15)
Pinedale Fine Arts Council
The Pinedale Fine Arts Council (PFAC) is proud to present the classic musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers live Thursday, January 29 at 7:00 p.m. in the Pinedale Auditorium. This will be a full-scale theatrical production featuring an ensemble New York cast and crew!

Finding a wife in the 1850’s wasn’t easy for men living in the Oregon mountain region and especially when there are seven brothers in one family! That’s how our story begins in Seven Brides For Seven Brothers.

Adam, the oldest of the seven, sets out for town to bring back a wife to take care of the cooking, cleaning and mending. In town, he meets Milly, the server and cook at the local café. He knows that it’s sudden, but asks her to marry him. Milly is up for an adventure and says yes because she’s tired of being the cook for all the men in town and can’t wait to take care of just one man. But he "forgot" to mention those other six brothers waiting back at home. After her discovery, she sets out to make the others the most eligible bachelors around!

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is a high-energy musical combining the classic, physical dancing styles with fun and energetic situations. Not only do the brothers have to dance eloquently at times with their brides, complete with eye-catching lifts and tosses, they also have fun and unique numbers that you would only see in Seven Brides. One situation includes a complicated and physical dance with axes and another with blankets as she gets them to take a bath.

Ticket prices for the Jan. 29 performance are $15 for adults and $7 for students (kids under the age of 5 are free). Tickets are available online at pinedalefinearts.com and are also on sale at Rock Rabbit, The Cowboy Shop, Office Outlet, Isabel Jewelry, The Big Piney Library and at the door the night of the performance ($2 extra).

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers live in Pinedale is presented by the Pinedale Fine Arts Council with support in part from the Wyoming Arts Council through funding from the Wyoming Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts which believes a great nation deserves great art, Sublette BOCES, SCSD #1, Western Sublette BOCES #9, the Sublette County Recreation Board, the Sublette Community Foundation, Jonah Energy, Linn Energy, QEP Resources, Tegeler & Associates, Wyoming Community Foundation, Ultra, 1st Bank and Denbury.

For more information please visit www.pinedalefinearts.com or call 307-367-7322. And be sure to find us on Facebook.

Related Links:
Win Free Tickets to Seven Brides for Seven Brothers!


Win Free Tickets to Seven Brides for Seven Brothers! (posted 1/21/15)
Pinedale Fine Arts Council
The Pinedale Fine Arts Council will be giving away a set of two free tickets for the upcoming Seven Brides for Seven Brothers performance on Thursday, January 29 at 7:00 pm in the Pinedale Auditorium.

To enter the ticket giveaway just go to www.pinedalefinearts.com and enter your name, email and phone number on the organizations homepage (right column). Ticket winners will be announced on Monday, January 26.

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is a high-energy musical combining the classic, physical dancing styles with fun and energetic situations. Not only do the brothers have to dance eloquently at times with their brides, complete with eye-catching lifts and tosses, they also have fun and unique numbers that you would only see in Seven Brides. One situation includes a complicated and physical dance with axes and another with blankets as she gets them to take a bath.

Related Links:
www.pinedalefinearts.com and enter your name, email and phone number on the organizations homepage (right column). Ticket winners will be announced on Monday, January 26.

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is a high-energy musical combining the classic, physical dancing styles with fun and energetic situations. Not only do the brothers have to dance eloquently at times with their brides, complete with eye-catching lifts and tosses, they also have fun and unique numbers that you would only see in Seven Brides. One situation includes a complicated and physical dance with axes and another with blankets as she gets them to take a bath.

Related Links:
PFAC brings Seven Brides for Seven Brothers to Pinedale Jan. 29


Sublette County Conservation District expresses concerns over proposed changes in groundwater monitoring for PAPA (posted 1/20/15)
Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online!
The Sublette County Conservation District were asked to meet with the Sublette County Commissioners on Tuesday, January 20th. They expressed concern about proposed changes to the BLM’s groundwater monitoring plan for the Pinedale Anticline Project Area (PAPA) natural gas field. The new plan recommends doing away with a number of the groundwater well sampling sites that the District has been monitoring and doing water quality analysis on for nearly a decade on the operator's behalf.

Eric Peterson, District Manager; Delsa Allen, Groundwater Program Manager; and Darrell Walker, Board Chairman all appeared before the Commissioners to voice their concerns. Peterson explained that the new monitoring program proposes to abandon the sampling of most of the 80+ industrial wells and 100+ domestic and stock water wells near and within the PAPA. The proposal states that those wells would be replaced with a network of 41 wells, including 20 new ones. Peterson said to drop all but 17 of the wells they have been sampling for nearly a decade and have great baseline data for in exchange for 20 new ones with no baseline data history, was not a Best Management Practice and seemed odd. The consultant who worked on the new monitoring program apparently feels the wells that are proposed to be dropped aren’t needed and the new monitoring well grid would be adequate to catch potential contaminant plume spread based on their groundwater flow models.

The Commissioners wondered why the Sublette County Conservation District staff that has been doing the operator's groundwater quality monitoring on the PAPA for nearly ten years wasn’t included in the development process of drafting the proposed new groundwater monitoring plan? The Conservation District didn’t know the answer to that and said they were baffled by it as well. Peterson said, "Abandonment of the existing water quality data set is alarming from our point of view." Commissioner Jim Latta said based on earlier conversations that day, he believed it wasn’t intentional that the Conservation District was excluded and that things could be cleared up with some dialog with the BLM, gasfield operators, and their environmental consultant-NewFields Mining, Energy, and Environmental Services LLC (NewFields).

Besides the proposed changes in the actual monitoring program, the Conservation District was also concerned that the public had not been given adequate notification by the BLM of the open public comment period. The BLM apparently issued a media release on December 23, 2014. However, for unknown reasons the press release was not received by the two local newspapers or Pinedale Online and the notice wasn’t advertised. The Conservation District asked Pinedale Online on January 8th if media had received the notice in response to the rapidly approaching January 23rd comment period deadline. Pinedale Online got the notice posted on January 8th. Public notices were published in the Pinedale Roundup on January 16th and in the Sublette Examiner on January 20th. After raising concerns with the Bureau of Land Management that the public wasn’t given enough notice to review the document and submit comments, the BLM agreed and on January 20th extended the comment period to February 6th.

The Commissioners expressed concern over about casting away all the data that has been gathered for so many years and starting over with a bunch of new monitoring wells with no baseline data history. The Commissioners said they strongly supported the Conservation District’s efforts to stay on top of water quality. The Commissioners recommended the Conservation District staff talk with the PAPA natural gas operators, their water quality program contractor, and the BLM about these concerns and determine what the threats are if groundwater monitoring wells are dropped from the program into the future. They asked to be kept informed on the matter.

The Pinedale Anticline Project Area (PAPA) Draft Groundwater Pollution Prevention, Monitoring and Response Action Plan can be found at: http://www.blm.gov/wy/st/en/field_offices/Pinedale/anticline/water.html. A hardcopy of the complete document can be viewed at the BLM offices at 1625 W. Pine St. in Pinedale and a copy of the text without appendices can be found at the Pinedale Public Library.

Public comments will now be accepted until 4:30 p.m. on February 6, 2015. Written comments may be mailed or delivered to the BLM Pinedale Field Office, 1625 W. Pine St., P.O. Box 768, Pinedale, WY 82941; or emailed to jbellis@blm.gov. If you have any questions, please contact Janet Bellis at 307-367-5316 or jbellis@blm.gov.

Related Links:
Comment deadline extended for PAPA Groundwater Monitoring Plan Pinedale Online, Jan. 20, 2015
Public comment sought on Draft Groundwater Pollution Prevention, Monitoring, and Response Action Plan for PAPA gas field Pinedale Online, Jan. 8, 2015
Sublette County Conservation District Water Quality Monitoring Program


Comment deadline extended for PAPA Groundwater Monitoring Plan (posted 1/20/15)
Extended to Feb. 6, 2015
Bureau of Land Management
The BLM Pinedale Field Office is extending the comment period on the draft Groundwater Pollution Prevention, Monitoring, and Response Action Plan for the Pinedale Anticline natural gas field from Friday, January 23rd to Friday, February 6, 2015. Due to circumstances beyond our control, the public notice did not make the newspapers as intended. Public notices were published on Pinedale Online on January 8, 2015 and in the Pinedale Roundup on January 16, 2015 and the Sublette Examiner on January 20, 2015. The deadline has been extended to give the public adequate time to review this plan.

The plan can be found at: http://www.blm.gov/wy/st/en/field_offices/Pinedale/anticline/water.html. A hardcopy of the complete document can be viewed at the BLM offices at 1625 W. Pine St. in Pinedale and a copy of the text without appendices can be found at the Pinedale Public Library.

Public comments will now be accepted until 4:30 p.m. on February 6, 2015. Written comments may be mailed or delivered to the BLM Pinedale Field Office, 1625 W. Pine St., P.O. Box 768, Pinedale, WY 82941; or emailed to jbellis@blm.gov. If you have any questions, please contact Janet Bellis at 307-367-5316 or jbellis@blm.gov.

Related Links:
Public comment sought on Draft Groundwater Pollution Prevention, Monitoring, and Response Action Plan for PAPA gas field Pinedale Online, Jan. 8, 2015


Yellowstone Park visitation tops 3 million for 8th straight year (posted 1/17/15)
Yellowstone National Park
Visitation to Yellowstone National Park in 2014 topped the 3 million mark for the eighth straight year.

Overall visitation to Yellowstone for 2014 was 3,513,486, up 10.21 percent from 2013, making it the second highest visitation year on record.

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Yellowstone National Park
Annual Recreational Visitors

Rank Year Visitation
1 2010 3,640,184
2 2014 3,513,486
3 2012 3,447,727
4 2011 3,394,321
5 2009 3,295,187
6 2013 3,188,030
7 2007 3,151,343
8 1992 3,144,405
9 1999 3,131,381
10 1995 3,125,285

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Nearly 1.44 million people came into Yellowstone through the park’s West Entrance in 2014, which also saw the greatest percentage increase in visitors among the park’s five main gates, up more than 14 percent from 2013 levels.

December visitation to Yellowstone was up 5.53 percent compared to year ago levels, with 18,340 visitors recorded in 2014 compared to 17,378 during the same period in 2013.

In December, 10,778 visitors came into the park’s North Entrance by wheeled vehicles.

Limited snowpack at the start of the oversnow winter season prohibited some snowmobile access for several days, restricting visitor travel on some road segments to snowcoach or commercial wheeled vehicles until conditions improved. For the month, 5,004 visitors entered the interior of the park by snowcoach or commercial wheeled vehicle, while 3,614 entered on guided snowmobile trips.

The last time the park recorded fewer than 3 million annual recreational visits was in 2006, with 2.87 million visits.

Detailed park visitation information and additional information on how these statistics are calculated is available online at https://irma.nps.gov/Stats/Reports/Park.


Wyoming Game and Fish and the State Vet urge caution handling birds (posted 1/17/15)
Wyoming Game & Fish
The confirmation of a strain of highly pathogenic avian influenza in other western states has prompted a warning from Wyoming officials to be on the lookout for birds that may exhibit symptoms of the disease. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department and the State Veterinarian also ask that those handling birds or who own birds to use caution.

Most of the confirmations have been in the Pacific Northwest, but on January 9, 2015 the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Iowa confirmed an American widgeon taken by a Utah hunter was positive for the influenza virus strain H5N8. Several other birds taken by hunters near the Great Salt Lake are also undergoing tests.

Utah is in the Pacific Flyway for waterfowl and the part of Wyoming west of the Continental Divide is also in the Pacific Flyway. Highly pathogenic avian influenza was also recently found in wild and domestic birds in Washington, Oregon and California; but at this point has not affected the commercial poultry industry in these locations. The disease has not been implicated in any human infection in the US, to date, and has not been found in Wyoming. Officials say there is no immediate human health concern due to the recent detection of the virus in other states.

"Finding the H5N8 strain of the Avian Influenza virus in wild birds in Utah after previously finding the disease in migratory wild birds in Oregon and Washington is a concern," said State Veterinarian, Jim Logan. "Although there is no immediate threat to domestic birds in Wyoming, we advise domestic poultry owners – commercial and backyard flocks - to take precautions to prevent their birds from having any contact or exposure with wild birds. Avian influenza can be transmitted to domestic bird flocks from infected wild birds."

Avian influenza H5N8 is a reportable disease in Wyoming. Owners of domestic poultry and veterinarians are encouraged to report signs of sick or dead birds to the State Veterinarian’s office at (307) 857 4140 or the USDA’s APHIS Wyoming office at (307) 432 7960 for diagnostic and epidemiologic evaluation. If individuals find dead wild birds in the field, they can call their local game warden, wildlife biologist or Game and Fish office. Owners of private game bird farms and falconers should contact Game and Fish personnel with any concerns.

Proper handling and cooking includes routine precautions like wearing latex or rubber gloves when cleaning birds, washing hands with soapy water after cleaning, cleaning and disinfecting equipment and surfaces that come in contact with wild birds (for example, washing with soapy water and disinfecting with a 10 percent chlorine bleach solution), and cooking wild birds thoroughly before eating the meat. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) states that birds are safe to eat as long as they are properly handled and cooked to a temperature of 165 degrees.

Avian influenza (commonly called "bird flu") is a viral infection found in a wide variety of domestic and wild birds. While most avian influenza viruses rarely cause clinical signs in wild waterfowl, HPAI occasionally can cause disease and mortality in wild birds. Additionally, the avian influenza virus can be transmitted to birds of prey from all ducks (including sea ducks), geese, swans, seabirds (alcids, fulmar, cormorants and grebes), cranes and herons. Waterfowl can be reservoirs for avian influenza strains that can be fatal to domestic poultry, therefore backyard and commercial poultry raised near areas associated with high waterfowl use are at risk of transmission.

In a sick bird, clinical signs may include edema or swelling of the head, nasal discharge, neurologic signs (circling, lack of coordination), depression or other signs of illness. Birds such as crows, ravens, magpies, gulls, raptors, owls, or avian species that would potentially scavenge or predate upon/eat waterfowl/seabirds could be candidates for infection.


Public comment sought on Draft Groundwater Pollution Prevention, Monitoring, and Response Action Plan for PAPA gas field (posted 1/8/15)
Deadline for comments is January 23, 2015
Bureau of Land Management
Editor's Update, 1/20/15: The deadline for the public comment on this plan has been extended to Friday, February 6, 2015. See this link for more info: Comment deadline extended for PAPA Groundwater Monitoring Plan
____________________________

Original post
Release Date: 12/23/14 (Editor's comment: Pinedale Online did not receive this release until January 8, 2015)
Contacts: Tony Brown, 307-352-0215

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is seeking public comments on the Draft Groundwater Pollution Prevention, Monitoring, and Response Action Plan (Plan), developed by NewFields Mining, Energy, and Environmental Services, LLC (NewFields). The deadline to submit comments to BLM is January 23, 2015.

The Plan and comment table is available at: www.blm.gov/wy/st/en/field_offices/Pinedale/anticline/water.html. Hard copies are available for review at BLM’s Pinedale Field Office at 1625 West Pine St. in Pinedale, WY.

Public comments will be accepted until 4:30 p.m. on January 23. Written comments may be mailed or delivered to the BLM Pinedale Field Office, 1625 W. Pine St., P.O. Box 768, Pinedale, WY 82941; or email to jbellis@blm.gov.

The Plan represents the third and final step outlined in Section 4.2 of the Pinedale Anticline Project Area (PAPA) September 2008, Record of Decision (ROD), and is intended to serve as the master groundwater baseline sampling, analysis, and monitoring plan for the PAPA.

The Plan was developed through a deliberate, collaborative process involving BLM, Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality-Water Quality Division (DEQ), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (WOGCC), Wyoming State Engineer’s Office (SEO), and PAPA Operators (Ultra Resources, Inc. and QEP Energy Company, sponsors of the Plan, and Linn Energy).

The Plan describes the process to be used to protect groundwater resources in the PAPA from potential impacts that could result from natural gas exploration and production activities. To date, comprehensive groundwater studies in the PAPA spanning 2007 through 2013 found no evidence of widespread impacts to groundwater in the PAPA from potential sources associated with these natural gas activities. The Plan will consist of three interrelated programs, described below:

A Groundwater Pollution Prevention Program, which identifies and represents the employment of best management practices (BMPs) designed to prevent groundwater pollution, most of which are already in use either through regulation or voluntarily as operator committed practices;

A Groundwater Monitoring Program; which will consist of a well network (existing wells and new monitoring wells) and sampling program to evaluate the adequacy and effectiveness of BMPs; and,

A Response Action Program, which will be put into place should a groundwater quality threshold be exceeded, the existing Hydrogeologic Conceptual Model needs revising, and/or a BMP has failed or is absent.

The Plan is organized around these three programs and details are provided in five sections:
Section 1 - Introduction
Section 2 - Goals and Objectives
Section 3 - Pollution Prevention Program
Section 4 - Groundwater Monitoring Plan
Section 5 - Response Action Program


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