Clean Water

Wyoming is home to clean, cold rivers and streams that support world class native trout fisheries.

These waters provide agricultural irrigation, wildlife habitat, support for guiding and outfitting industries, and ensure that residents have safe drinking water and access to year round recreation. That’s why we advocate for Wyoming’s water quality.

We are particularly concerned about the Department of Environmental Quality’s proposal to allow Aethon Energy to discharge more than 8 million gallons per day of contaminated oil and gas wastewater into Boysen Reservoir and the Wind and Bighorn rivers. Boysen is a recreational hotspot, and the Bighorn is a Class 1 Blue Ribbon trout stream. Although not disclosed in the permit, this produced water may contain chemicals used in fracking — chemicals that could harm fish, wildlife, and human health. The draft permit allows Aethon to dump more than 2,100 tons of total dissolved solids — including 719 tons of chloride — into Boysen Reservoir each month.

We joined conservation organizations, tribes, municipalities, and downstream irrigators to ask the state to extend the public comment period on this proposal, which DEQ granted. The comment period was extended to July 5 and the DEQ received over 450 comments on the permit from the public. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also weighed in finding the plan insufficient and that the project would have significant environmental impacts.. The DEQ is still reviewing these comments after which they will issue their decision and/or make any necessary changes to the permit. We will continue to analyze the many water quality impacts of this project. 



The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality has initiated an investigation into apparent violations of the Clean Water Act and the Wyoming Environmental Quality Act by the produced water discharged from the Moneta Divide oil and natural gas field — violations which threaten the water quality for wildlife or livestock use. Read the letter we sent to the DEQ as well as their response below.

Wyoming Outdoor Council’s Request for Inspection of Moneta Divide Facility

Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality’s response to “Complaint and Request for Investigation”

L E T T E R S ,  C O M M E N T S ,  A N D  R E S E A R C H —
Analysis of, and comments on, proposed WDEQ Wastewater Discharge Permit for Aethon Energy Operating, LLC
(June 27, 2019)
Review of ERM Water-Quality Modeling Study of Boysen Reservoir
(July 1, 2019)
Comments on Moneta Divide Gas Field Discharge Permit
(July 3, 2019)  

M E D I A — 
“Groups: Current Moneta oilfield discharges already violate law,”
WyoFile, Aug. 20, 2019
“Boysen, Moneta plan draws sharp divide between counties,”
WyoFile, May 28, 2019
“BLM offers draft for Moneta: font of revenue, pollutants,” 
WyoFile, Apr. 19, 2019
“Residents win comment extension on oilfield pollution dump,”
WyoFile, Apr. 16, 2019
“Residents fret about oilfield dumping plan for Bighorn River,”
WyoFile, Apr. 5, 2019

We will keep you updated here and on social media at the conclusion of the investigation for ways that you can take action. Stay tuned.


At What Cost? Wyoming Doesn’t Have to Risk Clean Water for Energy Development

At What Cost? Wyoming Doesn’t Have to Risk Clean Water for Energy Development

Upstream in the watershed is the Moneta Divide oil and gas field, where Texas-based Aethon Energy proposes to drill 4,100 new wells over the next 15 years — an economic boost for many communities in a part of the state that desperately needs jobs and revenue. But the company’s plan includes dumping up to 8.27 million gallons per day of “produced” oilfield wastewater — groundwater mixed in the oil- and gas-bearing formations — into tributaries of Boysen Reservoir.

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