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Drilling project proposed for Red Desert area

RAWLINS, Wyo. (AP) -- The Bureau of Land Management is taking public comment on a proposal to drill nearly 9,000 new natural gas wells in the Red Desert area of southwest Wyoming.

The proposed Continental Divide-Creston Natural Gas Development Project would occur largely in a current gas field that already has more than 3,000 wells.

Erik Molvar of the Laramie-based Biodiversity Conservation Alliance says most sensitive wildlife, such as sage grouse, have largely left the area.

But he says there are still other species, including pygmy rabbits and Wyoming pocket gophers, that survive in the project area.

Molvar says if the BLM takes steps to protect those remaining species there's an opportunity to allow the additional drilling.

BLM is accepting public comment until Jan. 21.