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Gas drilling permitted in HD Mountains

The purpose of this letter is to inform the community of the ongoing plans for drilling gas wells in the HD Mountains.

In July, the U.S. Forest Service circulated information by letter, email and some telephone calls concerning their intent to grant "permits to drill" to Petrox (two wells in the Fosset Gulch area) and Elm Ridge Drilling (five wells in the Bull Creek and Goose Creek area.) They proposed to grant these permits under a categorical exclusion environmental document.

The project for Petrox would use 11.74 acres - including two miles of road, and Elm Ridge would use 19.54 acres with three miles of road.

Many of the replies from citizens to this proposed action objected to the use of the categorical exclusion documents and requested instead a slightly more extensive environmental assessment. The Forest Service made a decision in early September and the results were announced at the HD Stakeholder meeting in late October.

Permits willl be granted to Petrox before Thanksgiving under the categorical exclusion documentation. An environmental assessment will be done in the spring on the Elm Ridge permits.

There will be opportunities for public input at this time. Stay tuned.

Terry Fitzgerald