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Feds OK 5,000-well project

DOUGLAS (WNE) — After six years of sometimes controversial debating, studying and protracted periods of waiting, the Bureau of Land Management released its highly anticipated decision regarding the Converse County Oil & Gas Project with a resounding yes.

BLM’s signed and official Record of Decision on Dec. 23 allows the development of up to 500 new oil and natural gas wells per year within a 1.5 million-acre area in Converse County during the 10-year life of the project.

The proposed multi-company project’s initial letter of intent was filed in May 2014 by Occidental Petrol Corporation, Chesapeake Energy Corporation, Devon Energy, EOG Resources and Northwoods Energy.

The project – which is really multiple projects by the companies – is expected to bring huge economic benefits to Converse County and Wyoming, including a boost in badly needed taxes. The energy project is expected to generate up to 8,000 jobs and approximately $18-$28 billion in federal and state revenues during the 10 years.

BLM’s preferred alternative in the project allows for year-round development within non-eagle raptor nest buffers, which are widespread in the project area and opposed by environmental groups.