The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality recently issued a final wastewater discharge permit for the Moneta Divide oil and gas field. In response to environmental concerns and strong public opposition, the permit rejects Aethon Energy’s request to increase (by almost 400 percent) the amount of contaminated water it discharges into tributaries of Boysen Reservoir, and includes stronger pollution controls. Engaged citizens like you were crucial to guiding this decision: thank you!
This new permit is still not without flaws, however. It gives Aethon four years to come into compliance with the new standards despite ongoing violations of the previous, more lenient permit. The Outdoor Council will continue to advocate for an accelerated compliance schedule.
Aethon is now seeking to inject some of its contaminated water into the Madison formation, a drinking water quality aquifer protected under the Safe Drinking Water Act. The Wyoming Oil and Gas Commission will hold a hearing November 10 to consider this proposal. We’re asking Outdoor Council members to contact the commission and ask them to protect our drinking water by denying Aethon’s request.
TETON COUNTY STATE LANDS
During the 2020 session, the Wyoming Legislature passed a bill soliciting proposals for parcels of state land in Teton County. The Outdoor Council has collaborated with several partner organizations to submit recommendations on these parcels to the Office of State Lands and Investments.
Most of the parcels in question are adjacent to federal public lands — primarily Grand Teton National Park and Bridger-Teton National Forest. We support selling these parcels to the federal agency in question to keep them open to the public and free from development, while also generating revenue for the state. For parcels surrounded by private land we recommended a mix of solutions including conservation easement, transfer to the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission to manage as wildlife habitat, and private development adhering to the Teton County Comprehensive Plan.
Because these land transfers could take years to implement, we also proposed uses of these lands that could produce revenue for the state in the short term. These include conservation leasing, leases for recreation or tourism, and maintaining existing cattle grazing.