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By Sun Advocate

Leaves on trees at the base of the Wasatch Plateau show off their colors over last weekend as fall officially arrived. Many of the colors in some areas are nearing their peak and will be at their most gloriuos in the next few days. Temperatures this week will be conducent to making the colors last as long as possible with highs in the 70’s and lows in the 40’s.

Attorney General Mark Shurtleff uses a golf analogy as part of his motivational speech at the BDAC at the College of Eastern Utah on Tuesday. First Lady Mary Kaye Huntsman kicked off her Power in You initiative. The program focuses on the emotional aspect of life challenges and at-risk behavior in order to bring hope to teens and encourage them to fulfill their life and education potential, focus on their dreams and achieve success in education. Huntsman kicked off the program at CEU with more than 500 students from Carbon, Emery, Grand, Sanpete, and Duchesne counties. The tour continued with stops in Cedar City, Odgen and West Valley City. By the time the tour ends on Friday, more than 12,000 students will hear from the governor, first lady, attorney general and other speakers.

After hearing approaching people, a fox dashes for cover near Scofield. Prior to being disturbed, the fox was stealthily approaching an unseen smaller animal. Foxes are generally not a threat to humans, and are actually prey to some larger animals. The greatest threat that people may face from foxes is the possibility of rabies, which is sometimes carried by wild animals.

The Bureau of Land Management Price Field Office is seeking public comments on a proposed oil and gas development project by Bill Barrett Corporation (BBC) on the West Tavaputs Plateau, primarily in Northeastern Carbon County. BLM will conduct public scoping for the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to be prepared for the West Tavaputs Natural Gas Full Field Development Plan in October.
This long-term development plan includes drilling up to 750 new natural gas wells on 500 locations over a period of approximately 20 years. Many surface locations will have more than one well drilled utilizing directional drilling techniques thus minimizing surface impacts. The number of wells drilled each year would average about 30 wells, although peak activity in any one year might reach 70 wells.
O’Ferrall also noted that in the current proposal no drilling would take place on BLM land in Nine Mile Canyon proper, although the analysis would assess potential impacts of this area (such as access and transportation). In addition, the proposal also includes some drilling within Desolation Canyon and Jack Canyon Wilderness Study Areas (WSA). The leases within these WSAs were issued prior to designation by Congress and are valid existing rights that precede the WSA designation.
Preliminary issues identified include potential impacts to the following resources: archeological and cultural features; wildlife including big game species; Threatened and Endangered species; sensitive species such as the Greater Sage Grouse; vegetation including the potential introduction of noxious weeds and establishment of perennial vegetation through recommended reclamation measures; drilling in Wilderness Study Areas; and impacts to recreational activities.
Identified benefits that may be derived from the natural gas development include: increased royalty and tax revenue to local, state and federal governments; employment opportunities at the local and regional level; meeting the national demand for energy; and reducing dependence on foreign sources of energy.
The West Tavaputs Plateau is an area that has seen oil and gas development since the 1950s. To date, 71 gas wells have been drilled within the project area. Currently, 37 of these are capable of production and 34 are temporarily or permanently abandoned. In addition, the project area already included a network of roads, pipelines, and a compressor station on federal, state, and private lands to support natural gas production from the field.
Comments on the West Tavaputs Natural Gas Full Field Development Plan will be accepted until November 14, 2005. Written comments should be sent to: Associate Field Manager Fred O’Ferrall, BLM Price Field Office EIS Comments, 125 S. 600 W., Price, Utah 84501. You can also submit comments online by accessing our website for this project at: http://www.blm.gov/utah/westtavaputs/comments.htm.
A public meeting is scheduled in Price on Oct. 18 at the Holiday Inn, 838 Westwood Blvd, Price, UT 84501, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The intention to sell some local coal operations was announced on Tuesday afternoon.
Andalex Resources, Inc. a privately owned coal producer has announced its coal mining interests in central Utah up for sale.
The company has been active in the state since the late 1970’s and its coal interests include the Tower Division located near Price and a 50 percent interest in both the West Ridge Project near East Carbon and the Crandall Canyon Project near Huntington.
The Intermountain Power Agency owns the other half of those projects.
“This has been a very difficult decision as the Mitchell family has been in the coal industry continuously since 1835 and I have been involved with Andalex since its beginning in 1976,” said Peter Green, chairman of Andalex. “After our long involvement in the coal business we now feel it is time to focus on our growing business interests in different areas. It is our intention that Andalex be sold as a unit.
The Andalex operations will produce 6.1 million tons of coal in 2005 on a 100 percent basis. The company employs 550 people.

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