Controversial Aquifer Exemption Proposal Resurfaces

Nov 13, 2015

The Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission is once again considering a proposal to dispose of oil and gas wastewater in the Madison aquifer in Fremont County.

The proposal would allow waste from the Moneta Divide project to be injected into a 15,000 foot aquifer. Encana originally petitioned for the aquifer exemption back in 2013. Aethon Energy has since purchased the field.

The water in the aquifer is considered to be good quality, but the company has argued that because it is so deep, it won’t ever be used as a drinking water source.

Jill Morrison with the Powder River Basin Resource Council disagrees. She says especially looking at the current situation in California, it’s not hard to imagine needing that water in the future.

“I don’t think that you’re going to be able to demonstrate that dumping a lot of oil and gas waste and briny water into a good aquifer makes sense,” she said.

The Oil and Gas Commission heard testimony from Aethon and the public at its meeting this week. It’s expected to make a decision about whether to grant the exemption at its December meeting.