Laramie, WY – Coal-bed methane producers in Gillette
told Gov. Dave Freudenthal that they need help to improve working
conditions as new employees continue moving into the Powder River
Basin with little oil and gas experience.
The governor met with members of the Powder River Basin CBM
Safety Council in Gillette on Friday.
Chuck Dobkins is chairman of the safety council and a senior
safety specialist at Williams Production. He told the governor that
there's a lack of government oversight on safety issues.
Dobkins said the state OSHA agency lacks resources in both
compliance and prevention. The state OSHA agency has six inspectors
and seven preventive consultants. Dobkins says it could use 20 to
30 workers given the pace of energy development.
Freudenthal says he agrees that more needs to be done, but says
the energy industry would need to support any expansion of OSHA
because of stiff opposition from the Legislature.