The Wyoming Oil and Gas Commission has denied a rulemaking petition from a landowner’s group. The Powder River Basin Resource Council submitted the petition a year ago, asking the Commission to consider new rules for flaring, setbacks -- the distance rig should be from a house -- and violations such as spills. Tuesday, the Commission denied the petition, saying it wants to propose its own rules on those issues, rather than starting with the citizen’s language. Jill Morrison, with the Resource Council, says she’s pleased the Commission is going to address the issues, although she wishes they had acted more quickly.
“The Commission addresses industry’s requests, almost always, very quickly," Morrison says. "The Commission essentially caters to the oil and gas industry. We’re going to have to see some changes in the way the Commission operates in terms of addressing and complying with their legal requirements to protect the health and safety of the public.”
In a press release announcing the creation of a new deputy director position at the Commission, Governor Matt Mead said the extra staff position would help the agency be more proactive with citizens.