The Bureau of Land Management and the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests are seeking public comment on a natural gas development proposal that's about 12 miles north of Paonia.

Gunnison Energy, LLC's North Fork Mancos Master Development Plan proposal is adjacent to the BLM Bull Mountain Master Development Plan and includes drilling up to 35 horizontal wells from four new well pads and one existing well pad over the next three years. Three new well pads would be on national forest system lands and one on private land. The existing pad is on private land drilling into federal minerals.

"We require companies to provide a multi-year master development plan proposal so that we can better analyze and mitigate potential impacts from oil and gas development," said Joe Meyer, BLM Southwest District manager.

The project area is accessed via Gunnison County Road 265. The proposal includes upgrading up to 2.2 miles of roads and constructing of up to 4.6 miles of new roads. Total anticipated initial surface disturbance for the project would be approximately 26 acres on federal lands and 10 acres on private lands. Of these totals, about 17 acres of federal lands and three acres of private lands would remain disturbed over the long-term. Gunnison Energy estimates the wells could produce up to 700 billion cubic feet of natural gas over 30 years.

The BLM and Forest Service are asking the public to submit comments identifying concerns and issues before they begin drafting the environmental assessment analyzing this proposal.

"Public involvement is an important part of our analysis of this proposal," said Scott Armentrout, GMUG forest supervisor. "Comments specific to the proposed action will be the most effective."

The proposal and associated maps are available at or the BLM project website at

Comments should be submitted by Feb. 21. Written comments and questions should be directed to the Bureau of Land Management, Attn: North Fork Mancos MDP, 2300 River Frontage Road, Silt, CO 81652 or submitted electronically to

Before including your address, phone number, email address or other personal identifying information in your comment, be aware that your entire comment -- including your personal identifying information -- may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask for personal identifying information to be withheld from public review, there is no guarantee that request can be honored.

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