Sunday, May 4, 2008

"Recovering From Wyomings's Energy Bender"--The New York Times

Eighty-five water wells in the southern Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem have recently tested positive for hydrocarbons, indicating that toxic chemicals from drilling have leaked into the water table. Air pollution in the same area was so great this winter that vulnerable residents were warned not to venture outside. Oil companies argued that strong winds would rectify the problem.

The Bush administration,............... has lifted every possible impediment to industry.
For example, oil and gas companies are exempt from provisions of the Clean Water Act that require construction activities to reduce polluted runoff as well as from provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act that regulate underground injection of chemicals. The industry is also generously permitted to drill on critical wildlife winter range (close to 90 percent of all their requests to drill on winter range have been granted). Oil rigs are drilling for natural gas on the banks of the New Fork River (the headwaters of the Colorado) and in the foothills of the Wyoming Range. Well sites in many parts of the southern Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem are so closely spaced that, with roads, gas pipelines and compressor stations, the development is continuous.

“One day, I fear I will wake up and all that will be left of Wyoming is a hole in the ground,” one resident of the southern Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem said.