Northern Arapaho Tribe Opposes Aetheon's Oilfield Waste Dumping Plan

Jul 11, 2019

The Wind River Canyon.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

The Northern Arapaho Tribe has come out against a proposed permit that would allow Aetheon Energy to discharge oil pollutants upstream of the Wind River.

As a Class 1, federally protected waterway, the Wind River can't be degraded with pollutants beyond a set limit. Ryan Ortiz of the tribe's Natural Resources Department said that Aetheon's proposed dumping would reach that limit.

"The remainder load of chloride was given to Aetheon in this one permit," Ortiz said. "That means everybody else will have to spend more money to clean their water so that we do not impair the class 1 waters in the Wind River Canyon."

In a comment submitted to the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, Ortiz wrote that the tribe supports the "safe and responsible" development of the Moneta Divide oil and gas field by Aetheon as long as it does not negatively impact the tribe's own economic development.

"The benefit of that oil and gas production could be community wide. Some of our tribal members may have job opportunities there," Ortiz said. "Our concern isn't their production or not producing, it's the [pollutant] loads that are being proposed in that draft permit."

The permit is under review by the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality. It would allow Aetheon to discharge more than 8 million gallons a day of oil field waste water into the Alkali and Badwater creeks, which flow into Boysen Reservoir and the Wind River.