By Molly Messick
Gillette, Wy –
In a recent press conference, Governor Dave Freudenthal objected to the Environmental Protection Agency's handling of regulation of water discharged from coal bed methane drilling in the Powder River Basin. He said the agency should meet with the state Department of Environmental Quality to discuss policy solutions, rather than issuing objections from Denver. But Powder River Basin rancher and coal bed methane working group member Eric Barlow says the D-E-Q this month rejected just that kind of E-P-A involvement.
"The Governor is saying, on one hand, come and talk to us. And the DEQ two weeks ago said, "Well they're not going to be a part of this working group. They're not a stakeholder in this working group. And resisted that."
Barlow says the working group put the question to a vote, and chose to keep the E-P-A out of discussions. The working group is bringing together ranchers, environmental groups, industry representatives and the state policymakers. They're trying to decide how to regulate water produced through coal bed methane development, after the E-P-A said existing practices violate the Clean Water Act.