By Elsa Heidorn
Laramie, WY – The mud pots that are showing up in the Atlantic Rim area south of Rawlins are not caused by re-injected coal bed methane water. Instead, they might be caused by methane escaping from abandoned wells. That's the verdict by the state Department of Environmental Quality. Some ranchers say more of the muddy, burping methane springs started showing up right after 160 coal-bed methane wells were dug in the area. And environmental groups worried that they were a sign that re-injected waste water could pollute ground water. The Wyoming Outdoor Council's Steve Jones says the DEQ put that fear to rest at its public meeting today. But the mud pots still left him with questions. Jones says he wants the Bureau of Land Management to reconsider allowing a total of 2000 wells to be drilled in the area.