Close Eight Hazardous Abandoned Oil and Gas Wells and Restore Natural Landscape
An environmental assessment (EA) was prepared to analyze and disclose potential impacts from implementing the no action alternative and the alternative B, the NPS preferred alternative, for plugging and reclaiming orphaned oil and gas wells. The environmental analysis has been completed, and a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) has been approved by Acting Regional Director Gordon Wissinger. The selected alternative is alternative B as described in the EA with no modification.
Alternative B will plug and reclaim at least 45 known orphaned oil and gas wells per appropriate federal and state standards and will reclaim associated access roads, as appropriate. This alternative will fulfill the project purpose and need by plugging and reclaiming known orphaned wells, ensuring protection of natural and cultural resources from the effects of past oil and gas operations in the Big South Fork NRRA, and minimizing human health and safety risks.
The EA was released for a 20-day public review period on February 8, 2010. Printed copies of the EA were made available for review at park headquarters, the park's Bandy Creek Visitor Center, the NPS Kentucky Visitor Center in Stearns at the Stearns Depot, and at area public libraries. Copies of the EA were also sent to regulatory and affected agencies during the comment period. Other entities on the park's mailing list received a letter, and press releases announcing the availability of the EA for review were published in four local newspapers.
The NPS received five pieces of correspondence from four people via mail and direct entry into the NPS Park Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website. Based on an analysis of the comments made in the correspondence, one concern raised was considered substantive and required text changes to the EA, as documented in the Errata Sheet appended to the FONSI. New information that came to light during the public review period also required some minor text changes. The text changes from comments or new information do not result in a change to the alternatives considered or effects detailed in the EA. The Errata Sheet also contains a summary of the comments received and NPS responses to those comments.
The action is possible at this time because funding to plug and reclaim the majority of these wells has been made available through the 2009 enactment of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Stennis R. Young, Superintendent
Big South Fork NRRA
Attn: Environmental Assessment for Well Plugging and Reclamation
4564 Leatherwood Road
Oneida, TN 37841
By Telephone: Tom Blount, Chief of Resource Management (423) 569-2404, ext. 252