Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Energy developers shake up Utah’s Escalante Valley over oil

Energy developers shake up Utah’s Escalante Valley over oil Through an intermediary, a geophysical company named Front Runner Seismic, Inc., a retired petroleum geologist has spent the past month seeking permission from landowners to conduct seismic testing over a 17-square-mile swath of the Escalante Valley.

The project has generated both excitement and dread in this community that once thrived on livestock, but increasingly relies on outdoor tourism associated with the region’s plateaus and canyons.

Oil production would be welcomed by many in Garfield County, whose leaders and native residents are still dismayed by the creation of the nation’s largest national monument in 1996. That move foreclosed the chance of developing massive coal reserves under the nearby Kaiparowits Plateau.

But the prospect of "vibe trucks" in Escalante, along with the drill rigs, industrial traffic and pipelines that could come later, has raised serious concerns for other residents, particularly newcomers who came here for the region’s scenery and outdoor opportunities. Salt Lake Tribune