Pinedale Anticline

Ultra Petroleum filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Friday evening, after warning it was likely headed toward bankruptcy in filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The company is Wyoming's largest gas producer, by volume, but has struggled with high debt loads and low natural gas prices in recent months. In April, Wyoming's benchmark natural gas price was just $1.71 per thousand cubic feet, compared to $2.32 at the same time last year. 

Courtesy Linda Baker

Environmental groups are urging the Bureau of Land Management to quickly develop a plan for preventing future groundwater pollution in the Pinedale Anticline gas fields.

The BLM released a report this week that said groundwater contamination in the area was mostly not a result of natural gas production. But Bruce Pendery with the Wyoming Outdoor Council says regulators still need to be vigilant in preventing potential future problems.

An environmental group in Pinedale is trying to help residents understand water quality issues, by creating an online map of gas wells, water wells, and other hydrologic data.

Linda Baker with the Upper Green River Alliance says she got the idea for the project when water wells in the Pinedale Anticline gas field started showing traces of benzene and other pollutants several years ago.

Baker served on the Pinedale Anticline Working Group, and she says data from the Bureau of Land Management, Department of Environmental Quality, and other agencies was very technical.

An official with the Bureau of Land Management says one 24 mile long power line, and two additional lines stretching 15 miles in length will take a big step forward in resolving problems with Ozone in Sublette County. 

Ozone issues attributed to energy development has caused health concerns surrounding the Pinedale Anticline.  The B-L-M’s Bill Wadsworth says the power lines will allow energy companies to convert some of their facilities from internal combustion engines and generators to electric power and that should reduce pollution.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
is moving ahead with a proposed regulatory designation that could
increase pressure on the gas industry to limit emissions that have
led to severe wintertime ozone pollution in western Wyoming.
     The EPA is doing so while it settles a nationwide lawsuit over
ozone filed by an environmental group, WildEarth Guardians.
     In 2009, Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal recommended that the EPA
enact what's known as "nonattainment status" for ozone in the

Ted Wood - High Country News

The Bureau of Land Management wants public input about how to reclaim land in the Pinedale Anticline that has been disrupted by energy development projects.

Next month, the BLM’s Pinedale Anticline Working Group – or PAWG –will discuss developers’ plans for improving air quality in the area by their March deadline. Members will also brainstorm for ways to reclaim disrupted mule deer habitat in the area.

Shane DeForest is the Pinedale Field Manager for the BLM. He says there’s a lot to consider in land restoration, including plant species, size and location.