The BLM announced Friday that oil and gas development in parts of Duchesne and Uintah Counties can move forward. The decision approved the preferred alternative in the Monument Butte Areas oil and gas final Environmental Impact Statement in order to safeguard natural resources while allowing for future energy development. That alternative was the result of close collaboration between the BLM, EPA, Fish and Wildlife, State of Utah and Newfield Exploration Company. “Protecting air quality has been at the forefront of our discussions as we developed the EIS,” shares Jenna Whitlock, BLM’s Utah director. “BLM worked with many partners to come up with a comprehensive air mitigation strategy to ensure emissions are minimized and even offset. The plan we developed results in a ‘net zero’ increase from stationary sources such as tanks and compressor stations.” The Monument Butte oil and gas project includes plans for 119,743 acres of existing oil and gas producing area with currently 3,000 wells. Friday’s decision will allow “infill” drilling of up to 5,750 new oil and gas wells, plus roads, pipelines, and other infrastructure.