Wyoming adopts baseline testing rule

Nov 13, 2013

The Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission hears from the baseline testing working group at a hearing in Casper on November 12, 2013.
Credit Stephanie Joyce
On Tuesday, Wyoming joined the growing list of states that will require groundwater testing at oil and gas wells before and after drilling occurs.  The Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission voted to require three rounds of testing at water wells within a half-mile of the drilling pad.

Companies will have to test for a variety of potential contaminants in the water, from volatile organic compounds to bacteria.
In comments following the vote, Governor Matt Mead praised his fellow commissioners for approving the rules.

“I think there’s been a lot of productive input to try to get it where it is, the changes that have been made, and as with all things we will continue to have concerns from both sides,” Mead said.

The Powder River Basin Resource Council has been outspoken critic of the rules, and following the meeting, spokesperson Jill Morrison said they're a start, but that they don't go nearly far enough.

"Where's the trigger point? Where's the action point?" Morrison asked.

She says the burden remains on the landowner to show the linkage between drilling and groundwater contamination.

Mead promised that if the rules are shown to be ineffective, there’s room for reconsideration.

Companies will have to comply with the new regulations starting March 1, 2014.