Lexam Explorations Inc.: Finding of No Significant Impact Reached for Baca Project
LEXAM EXPLORATIONS INC. announce that the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has issued a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for Lexam’s Baca Project located in south-central Colorado. The USFWS’ decision was reached based on the results of an Environmental Assessment (EA) conducted by the Service under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The USFWS environmental review process lasted 15 months and involved extensive public meetings, participation, and comment by all interested parties. This decision by the USFWS is the final approval required before Lexam can move forward with its planned exploration for oil and gas. The EA and FONSI are available for download at: http://www.fws.gov/alamosa/BacaNWR.html
“We are delighted that the USFWS has recognized our right to oil and gas exploration and that the Baca Project can move forward under reasonable and responsible conditions designed to protect the environment and the surrounding community. The EA is a very comprehensive document and we believe it will stand up to any scrutiny. The USFWS came to the proper conclusion by issuing a FONSI,” said Rob McEwen, Chairman and CEO.
Since the 1990s, Lexam has owned 75% of the oil and gas rights on the Baca property (the remaining 25% is owned by ConocoPhillips). In 2000 the USFWS acquired the surface of the property, which it now operates as the Baca National Wildlife Refuge (BNWR).
Lexam conducted exploration activities on the BNWR property, including drilling two exploration wells, in the 1990s when the surface estate was privately owned. The proposed program at the Baca Project consists of two additional exploration wells. The purpose of the EA is to ensure that continued exploration of the mineral estate is conducted in a reasonable manner that protects the surface estate and other resources of the BNWR now that the surface is owned by the USFWS.
The EA includes specific terms and conditions applicable to Lexam’s proposed exploration project, which will protect the surface resources of the BNWR. The terms and conditions meet or exceed the surface protection measures typical to oil and gas drilling in the Rocky Mountains and were either voluntarily agreed to or suggested by Lexam.
The Baca Project has been consistently challenged by opposition groups and Lexam can make no assurances that the USFWS decision will not be challenged by further legal actions. Such actions could lead to delays or other circumstances that could be undesirable to Lexam and its shareholders. Lexam plans to vigorously defend its right to mineral exploration in the event that a legal challenge threatens to further delay the project.
The primary objective of Lexam’s Baca Project is to explore for natural gas resources beneath the BNWR property. Lexam believes that its actions may help the United States achieve greater energy independence while also ensuring that the BNWR is protected for the enjoyment of this and future generations. Environmental protection and responsible energy exploration can coexist by careful planning and coordination between the USFWS and Lexam. Lexam has been, and will continue to be, a responsible environmental steward on the BNWR and elsewhere.
Lexam Explorations is a North American based energy exploration company. The company is advancing the Baca Project located in south-central Colorado, USA, which is 75% owned by Lexam and 25% by ConocoPhillips and has an option to earn 50% interest in Golden Valley Mines’ Otish Basin uranium project located in Quebec, Canada.