Members Of Public Voice Concern About Aethon Expansion, Water Quality

May 24, 2019

Boysen Dam and Reservoir
Credit Greg Goebel via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

A proposed expansion of Aethon Energy's Moneta Divide Oilfield could significantly increase the volume of water and dissolved solids the company sends into the Boysen Reservoir near Shoshoni.

A draft permit put forth by the state's Department of Environmental Quality would allow the company to discharge more than 8 million gallons a day, but is now open for public comment.

DEQ Spokesman Keith Guille said public input helps the department make its final decision.

"Discharge permitting happens throughout the U.S.," he said. "And so, just that process definitely protects our waterways."

Dustin Bleizeffer of the Wyoming Outdoor Council said many of the comments offered during public sessions this week in Riverton and Thermopolis called for more information, as well as a balance between economic development and environmental protection.

"Clean water is vital to our economy and our quality of life," Bleizeffer said. "And we're just asking for assurances from the state that any plan to discharge industrial water like this comes with some clarity and certainty."

Guille said the DEQ received good feedback with several things to consider. The public comment period will remain open until July 5.