By Peter O'Dowd and wire reports
Laramie, WY – An environmental group says oil and gas drilling on federal lands in the West could increase by more than 160 percent over the next two decades and Wyoming will lead the charge. The Wilderness Society bases that projection on industry drilling plans from the Bureau of Land Management. Wilderness Society Spokesman Chris Mehl says there are 77-thousand wells across the West now, and 126-thousand more wells are expected in the next 15 to 20 years.
Wyoming is tops among five western states with nearly 60,000 new wells planned. The BLM's Cindy Wertz says the Wyoming office hasn't seen the report, but officials in Washington are now analyzing the data. Meanwhile, Congress is looking at tightening government oversight of drilling.