In the Rockies today, the U.S. Interior Department approves another large-scale drilling plan in Utah.
While the Gasco proposal is about a third the size of the Anadarko plan approved last month near Vernal, the Anadarko plan has air-quality protections and buffers around the White River that won the support of environmental groups.
Conservation groups are concerned about the Gasco plan, which allows drilling sites within five miles of Desolation Canyon and within three miles of a boat launch, and is in the Uintah Basin, which has been plagued with high ozone levels in recent winters.
Energy development and public lands will be on Congress' agenda this week and next, and on Monday, the U.S. House began debate on House Bill 4480, a suite of bills that conservation groups said puts energy development above all other public-land uses.
Also in the news, more houses were burned by the High Park Fire in Colorado, and we again provide a roundup of wildfire coverage in the Rocky Mountain West in our In-depth section.