SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Federal officials are giving approval to nearly 1,300 natural gas wells in eastern Utah despite protests from environmental groups.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says the government is mandating a number of environmental safeguards for drilling by Denver-based Gasco Energy Inc.
Salazar says no drilling will take within five miles of the Green River's Desolation Canyon, one of the largest roadless areas in the Lower 48 states.
Environmental groups wanted federal officials to shrink the project area more than it did in a last-minute compromise with the company.
Gasco was authorized to use no more than 575 drilling pads for 1,298 wells, using directional drilling to reach out-of-the-way gas pockets deep underground.
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