A company producing helium in Utah wanted to avoid a fight with environmentalists over its plan to drill new wells in Emery County. So executives worked out a deal in advance.
Officials of Dallas-based IACX Energy went to the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance and told them about their plans to drill in the Lost Spring Wash area near Woodside. The area was set aside as a helium reserve in the 1920’s, but it’s also an area SUWA has proposed for wilderness designation. IACX president Scott Sears says it just didn’t make sense to invite regulatory hassles or even a lawsuit.
“Let’s face it – when you’re on federal land, you have many stakeholders," Sears told KUER. "And I think the worst thing you could do is just barge in like a bulldog and say, ‘This is mine and I’m gonna do whatever I want and to heck with the rest of you.’”
IACX engineers agreed to drill sideways to reach the helium and to keep well operations out of the area that SUWA believes has wilderness values.
Steve Bloch, an attorney with SUWA, says they were pleased to help the company achieve its goals.
Bloch says, “Where we could reach agreement with companies like I-A-C-X that involves some give and take on both sides – I think those are described as win-win solutions.”
IACX is already producing helium at Harley Dome near I-70 in Grand County.