August 2013

Thanks For Submitting Comments To The BLM

26 Aug 2013

Many thanks to those of you who submitted comments of support or attended one of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) scoping meetings on the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the utility corridor to serve Enefit American Oil’s (EAO) planned 50,000 barrel-per-day oil shale project. The BLM conducted scoping meetings in mid-July in Vernal and Salt Lake City, both of which were well-attended. The draft EIS is expected in late 2014, at which time there will be another opportunity for public comment.

Environmental Baseline Studies Continue

26 Aug 2013
It’s been a busy summer in the field for EAO and its contractors conducting environmental baseline studies.

Air: In preparation for submitting permit applications, we recently completed 1.5 years of ambient air quality baseline data collection. This was conducted at our state-of-the-art U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-approved air monitoring station on the project site. We have shared this data with Utah State University, which is conducting a research project on ozone in the Uintah Basin. USU will soon take over management of the monitoring station to continue their studies.
Water: The limited water needed for the project will come from an existing surface water right and be piped from the Green River. However, we are drilling or rehabilitating a series of 23 groundwater-monitoring wells on the project site to develop a model that will confirm underground water quality and movement. We have also installed six surface water-monitoring sites along Evacuation Creek, an intermittent stream that runs through part of the project site.
Plants and animals: Fieldwork conducted this year confirmed data from last year that there are no greater sage grouse or leks (breeding areas) located on the Enefit South private property or the BLM utility corridor. The U.S. government is evaluating these birds for potential listing as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, with a decision planned for 2015. Researchers did find Graham’s and White River penstemon, two sensitive plants, on our private land, and we will work with the agencies to identify strategies for mitigating any potential disturbance to these species.
Cultural and paleontological resources: Our cultural surveyors found and documented several artifacts from the historic mining days of the late 1800s, but our paleontological researchers went even further back – they found animal, plant and insect fossils dating back several million years! We’ll be working with the Utah Fieldhouse of Natural History in Vernal to share these findings, so everyone can learn about the history of the area. Project research to document biological, cultural and paleontological resources involved aerial and ground-level surveys; fossils found on the site will be provided to a local museum.

Socioeconomic conditions: We’re planning to develop a study of regional socioeconomic conditions so we can better understand the impacts our project may have on the local and surrounding communities. This work will continue into 2014.

+/-30 Percent Project Study Nearing Completion

26 Aug 2013

Our engineers expect to complete preliminary engineering and a +/-30 percent project study by summer’s end. This will include the footprint and plan for the surface mining, retorting, upgrading, utilities and reclamation operations. Given the project area’s arid climate and ozone concerns, special attention is being paid to minimize water use and maximize water recycling, as well as employ Best Available Control Technologies to protect air quality. The plant is also being designed to be a “zero liquid discharge” facility.

Enefit’s Utah Project In The News

26 Aug 2013

Several major news articles about the Utah project have appeared in recent weeks. Salt Lake City’s two daily newspapers, the Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News, both ran front-page articles. Energy Wire, a news service read by industry and national policy makers, also published an article.