Huffpost Denver

Natural Gas Drilling To Continue At Artifact-Rich Utah Canyon After Agreement Signed

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SALT LAKE CITY — An agreement to protect a Utah canyon decorated by ancient American Indian art is expected to allow energy development in the area to move forward.

The pact is scheduled to be signed Jan. 5 by federal and state agencies, conservation and archaeology groups, tribal leaders and Denver-based gas driller Bill Barrett Corp.

It calls for road work to cut down on abrasive dust that can erode the rock art panels of Nine Mile Canyon.

The canyon – actually 78 miles long – has been called the world's longest art gallery, with thousands of prehistoric drawings.

Bill Barrett Corp. is awaiting federal environmental approval to add 800 gas wells on high plateaus accessible only from Nine Mile Canyon. The company says it's happy for the agreement after years of dispute.