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WY Oil and Gas Conservation Commission prepares to draft rules for baseline groundwater testing

The University of Wisconsin

Wyoming’s new energy policy places a central focus on requiring oil and gas developers to conduct baseline groundwater testing,and the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission has been tasked with drafting the new rules for the testing.

The Gov. Matt Mead’s Natural Resource Policy Advisor, Jerimiah Rieman, told the legislature’s Joint MineralsCommittee today that the initiative is like a cheap insurance policy for industry.

The Wyoming Farm Bureau’s Ken Hamilton said landowners will be looking at sampling procedures very carefully when the draft of the rule is released.

“In a sampling procedure I mentioned the time of travel, and any aquifer that gets recharged you need to measure that time of travel or have a good idea about that. Because sometimes you can put a contaminant in an aquifer and it might take up to maybe two or three years before that water will actually travel to where the sampling source is.”

The number and frequency of samples to be collected, public disclosure of results, and distance from well pads are being considered for the rules. A draft of the rules should be presented at the June meeting of the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.

Irina Zhorov is a reporter for Wyoming Public Radio. She earned her BA from the University of Pennsylvania and an MFA from the University of Wyoming. In between, she worked as a photographer and writer for Philadelphia-area and national publications. Her professional interests revolve around environmental and energy reporting and she's reported on mining issues from Wyoming, Mexico, and Bolivia. She's been supported by the Dick and Lynn Cheney Grant for International Study, the Eleanor K. Kambouris Grant, and the Social Justice Research Center Research Grant for her work on Bolivian mining and Uzbek alpinism. Her work has appeared on Voice of America, National Native News, and in Indian Country Today, among other publications.
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