St. Joesph Petroleum Plan of Operation & EA
Contact: Steven Seven, 423-569-9778
The National Park Service has released an Environmental Assessment (EA) and a Plan of Operations for the continuing production of six gas wells operated by Saint Joseph Petroleum, Inc. near the Mount Helen trailhead in Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area (NRRA). The purpose of the Environmental Assessment is to evaluate all threats to the human and the natural environment in Big South Fork NRRA. As stated in the 1974 Enabling Legislation, Big South Fork NRRA is required to let mineral owners extract their oil and gas within the park. The Plan of Operations is a regulatory requirement for non-federal mineral owners and operators pursuant to 36 CFR, Part 9, Subpart B. The Plan of Operations along with a performance bond serves as Saint Joseph’s permit to operate their gas wells on federal property.
The agency’s preferred alternative is to approve Saint Joseph’s Plan of Operations with additional mitigation measures. Under this alternative the access roads and areas around the well would be improved, and production of the wells would continue until the wells are plugged. After the wells are plugged, the areas around the well would be rehabilitated and the access roads would be stabilized.
Copies of the Environmental Assessment and Plan of Operations are available by writing Superintendent, Big South Fork NRRA, 4564 Leatherwood Road, Oneida, Tennessee, 37841, or by contacting Big South Fork NRRA Headquarters at (423) 569-9778. The Environmental Assessment can also be reviewed at the park planning website.
Comments should be emailed, or mailed to Big South Fork NRRA Headquarters, 4564 Leatherwood Road, Oneida, Tennessee, 37841. All comments must be emailed or received no later than October 17, 2007. Any questions may be directed to Tom Blount at (423) 569-9778.
Did You Know?
The Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area protects only 14% of its watershed. Unfortunately it is the lower end of the watershed, so that everything which happens outside the park, impacts the parks water quality.