‘Thumper trucks’ could be coming to Moffat County | CraigDailyPress.com

‘Thumper trucks’ could be coming to Moffat County

Brandon Johnson

Energy industry trucks could roll across northern Moffat County this fall, pumping seismic vibrations into the ground in search of natural gas.

The vibrations would be used by two energy companies, Kerr-McGee and Veritas, to make an underground map of the region.

The trucks, commonly called “thumper trucks,” will look for gas on 2,490 acres of Bureau of Land Management land near Powder Wash Basin. The rest of the 164 square-mile project will take place in Wyoming.

The project is dubbed the “Cherokee West 3D Seismic Survey.”

BLM is accepting public input on the survey until Friday. The input will play a role in the bureau’s decision on whether to allow the companies to perform the seismic survey.

If the BLM approves the survey, trucks could roll onto the land in September. The project is expected to take 75 days to complete.

Seismic surveys are designed to give a more accurate idea of what’s underground than drilling test holes, but environmentalists say the trucks cause too much damage to the land.

Barb Blackstun, a natural resources specialist with the BLM in Craig, said the surveys give energy companies an accurate picture of natural gas reserves below the surface.

“The main purpose is to try to keep the number of dry holes to a minimum,” Blackstun said.

Blackstun will follow the crews during the project, making sure they stay where they’re supposed to and that crews clean up any messes.

She said there are about three seismic surveys in the region every year.

The Bio-Diversity Alliance in Laramie, Wyoming opposes the project, saying it will cause a great deal of damage to the landscape.

Erik Molvar, a wildlife biologist with the Alliance, said the trucks will crush everything in their path.

“This is not only the most heavy-handed exploration method available, it is also in some of most-sensitive corners of the Red Desert,” Molvar said.

Molvar said the alliance’s concerns with the West Cherokee project concern areas in Wyoming, not in Colorado. Specifically, the alliance is concerned about impacts of the survey on proposed wilderness sites in Wyoming.

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