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On behalf of the Utah Board of Oil, Gas and Mining, Gov. Gary Herbert on Wednesday presented Earth Day Awards to five companies the state says have gone beyond what is required by regulation to protect Utah's environment as they develop natural resources.

The awards were presented to Anadarko Petroleum Corp., Canyon Fuel Co.'s Skyline Mine, Questar Pipeline Co., Simplot Phosphates and Western Clay Co.

The essential requirement of the award is that a company, organization or individual voluntarily perform work that significantly enhances or improves the environment, even though such action is not required by law.

Anadarko, according to the state, has taken steps to decrease land disturbance during drilling operations by the use of directional drilling from fewer drill pads, and conducting interim reclamation of disturbed areas.

Canyon Fuel selected a more environmentally friendly alternative for construction of a ventilation portal at its Skyline Mine in Winter Quarters Canyon west of Scofiled despite significantly increased costs. The decision resulted in a much smaller footprint that preserved a creek and the historic nature of the canyon.

While installing a new natural gas transmission pipeline in Uintah County, Questar Pipeline worked to preserve the scenic characteristics along the lower Green River corridor.

Simplot Phosphates undertook a stream bank stabilization and restoration project on Big Brush Creek in a bend that if left to natural forces could potentially have jeopardized Highway 191, phone lines and a natural gas pipeline. Big Brush Creek is near Vernal.

Western Clay, which operates the Aurora Clay Pit in Sevier County, voluntarily reclaimed an existing pit adjacent to its mining site. The reclamation reduced a public safety hazard for all-terrain-vehicle riders and returned the land to a wildlife use area.

The board has presented more than 100 Earth Day Awards since 1991.