Sheridan, Wy – While a split estate law is positive, an organizer with the Powder River Basin Resource Council says the state needs to focus on impacts of water as it is associated with Coalbed Methane Development. Water is discharged as companies harvest gas from coal seams. Jill Morrison of the Powder River Basin Resource Council says that water is not being put to a beneficial use. Morrison says that is costing the state money. "which an economist says is a low of two billion, and a high ten billion. Which we are giving no value and treating it as a waste product."
While state officials say the water discharge is helpful, Morrison says not when it floods ranchers downstream. She adds that the state says there is little they can do to get a handle on the situation. " They don't have a regulatory mechanism to regulate the quantity of water. The other issue that seems completely crazy...we are in six of seven years of drought...and people are being flooded out downstream with this water." While she is pleased that a split estate law was passed, Morrison says plenty more needs to be done to assist landowners impacted by gas development.