DENVER (AP) — The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission has authorized negotiations with Anadarko Petroleum Corp. to allow for energy development at St. Vrain State Park near Longmont, with some restrictions.

Anadarko has proposed drilling seven horizontal wells from a single 10-acre pad at the northern edge of the 688-acre park on the productive Wattenberg oil field.

Commissioners agreed Thursday to authorize Parks and Wildlife Director Rick Cables to finalize a surface use agreement and lease with Anadarko that includes environmental protections.

Three companies had expressed interest in drilling at the park, but Anadarko offered to pay a higher royalty rate. It also has existing wells surrounding the park, so it would only need one new well pad to develop resources under the park using horizontal drilling. It also to adopt strict environmental protections, such as conducting baseline water quality surveys, using closed-loop drilling systems to minimize the risk of spills, and protecting the aquifer below the park, said state parks High Plains Region Manager Heather Dugan.

As the owner of mineral rights on 439 acres of the park, Parks and Wildlife can bargain directly with a prospective operator for stronger protections at the park than state rules require, agency spokesman Theo Stein said.

Separately, commissioners approved a surface use agreement with DeJour Energy for development of three well pads on the Garfield Creek State Wildlife Area. DeJour is leasing mineral rights there from the federal government. About 11.5 acres would be disturbed.

DeJour will pay $207,660 in compensation for the surface disturbance, plus $40,000 for projects such as irrigation systems or wildlife food plots to improve wildlife habitat on the state wildlife area.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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