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Study: Drilling Plans Grow Yet Again for WYO

September 18, 2007

Daniel, WY – Wyoming retains its title as the "oil and gas drilling capital of the West," according to a new study from The Wilderness Society. The report says plans are underway to drill more than 58,000 new wells on public land, and that's in addition to thousands already in operation on public and private property. Critics say more wells are planned in Wyoming than in any other Rocky Mountain state.

Cattle rancher J.J. Healy in Daniel says the report proves plans are moving faster than anyone can monitor, and that air, land and water are being affected beyond drilling zones.

"Groundwater and the other effects of drilling are not being monitored. At our place, for example, we had to drop our well pump about 20 feet this year."

Healy says the region's Bureau of Land Management offices are dealing with so many projects at once, there's neither the time nor the staff to fully scrutinize the plans and their effect on land and habitat.

"They really don't have time to become familiar with the area and to know where some of the migration corridors are. We think it’s too much happening too fast."

The pace of energy development in Wyoming has also attracted Congress' attention. The House passed new rules as part of the Energy Bill, which would require developers to work more closely with affected private property owners, as well as pay for clean up. Critics of new regulations say they are redundant and would stifle much-needed energy supplies.

Deborah Smith/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - WY