Groups Offer Praise as Governor Mead, WOGCC Finalize Groundwater Testing Program for Oil and Gas Drilling

November 12, 2013
Contact: 
Lauren Whittenberg, 512-691-3437, lwhittenberg@edf.org
Jon Goldstein, 505-603-8522, jgoldstein@edf.org
Chris Merrill, 307-223-0071, chris@wyomingoutdoorcouncil.org
Amber Wilson, 307-332-7031, amber@wyomingoutdoorcouncil.org
Richard Garrett, 307-349-2423 richard@wyomingoutdoorcouncil.org

The Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, including Gov. Matt Mead, gave final approval on Tuesday to new statewide rules that will require oil and gas drillers to scientifically establish and monitor the quality of groundwater around sites prior to, during, and after oil and gas development.

Environmental Defense Fund and the Wyoming Outdoor Council applaud this action, which they say establishes a groundwater testing standard that is a model for the nation.

"Governor Mead, his appointees and staff have shown great leadership in this effort,” said Richard Garrett, energy policy analyst with the Wyoming Outdoor Council. “The governor is right — and just about everyone agrees — collecting baseline water quality data prior to drilling, and following up with post completion sampling, are necessary steps. This rule will help protect everyone: landowners, Wyoming citizens, and industry."

“Wyoming should be proud of this rule,” Jon Goldstein, EDF senior energy policy manager said. “It sets a new national standard for groundwater baseline testing and monitoring related to oil and gas activity. The open, inclusive approach the state took in formulating this proposal has led to a strong, scientifically valid groundwater testing program. This rule will give Wyoming residents important information about the quality of their water.”

Wyoming’s new rule will be applied statewide. It will require that companies use a “radial approach” to sampling wells (testing drinking water sources within a half mile radius of new oil and gas wells) without an artificial cap on the number of wells tested, and it includes a required Sampling and Analysis Protocol (SAP) to ensure that procedures and parameters are consistently implemented.

Wyoming’s proposed SAP is currently the most detailed guidance provided by any state regarding how private wells should be sampled, the groups say.

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Environmental Defense Fund (edf.org), a leading national nonprofit organization, creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. EDF links science, economics, law, and innovative private-sector partnerships. Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and our Energy Exchange Blog. 

The Wyoming Outdoor Council (wyomingoutdoorcouncil.org) is Wyoming’s oldest independent conservation organization. The Wyoming Outdoor Council’s mission is to protect Wyoming’s environment and quality of life for future generations.