SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — An energy company has received approval to open one of Utah's biggest natural-gas fields by agreeing to use new technology to drill under wild areas, instead of on top of them.
The federal Bureau of Land Management approved Bill Barrett Corp.'s multi-billion-dollar project Thursday.
The agency's approval reflects a deal the drilling company cut with environmental groups to pull back from wild areas and limit well pads off the high rim of the Green River's Desolation Canyon.
Bill Barrett will use 120 well pads instead of the 538 it originally proposed, and directional drilling will get at the gas pockets deep beneath wild lands.
The Denver-based company says it's one of the most environmentally progressive gas projects anywhere.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is calling the deal historic.
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