CHEYENNE (AP) — U.S. officials have approved a 5,000-well oil and gas project spread across more than 2,300 square miles in Converse County.

Five major oil and gas companies proposed the development between Glenrock and Douglas that has stirred concern over its massive size and plans to drill year-round.

Wednesday's approval from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management finalizes the development plan, but actual construction will require separate approvals.

Federal officials say the oil and gas field would create more than 8,000 jobs and between $18 billion and $28 billion in revenue.

A previous government study noted that the project calls for exemptions to operate in sage grouse and raptor habitat.

In a prepared statement, Gov. Mark Gordon commended the Record of Decision for the project.

“This ROD is the culmination of years of work between the Bureau of Land Management, Wyoming Game and Fish Department and other State of Wyoming agencies, my office, and the oil and gas industry,” Gordon said.

“It establishes what has been my goal from the beginning -- to provide actual year-round drilling opportunities," he said.

"This ROD sets the framework for hundreds of jobs for Wyoming and ensures proper safeguards for the protection of our wildlife in the project area," Gordon said. "It is an example that oil and gas operations and wildlife can and do co-exist in Wyoming.”

The Record of Decision and other project documents and maps are available online.

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