Tuesday, September 1, 2009

"Coal Bed Methane Draws Down Water"--Star-Tribune --By DUSTIN BLEIZEFFER

Some areas of the Powder River Basin have experienced significant
groundwater drawdown -- as much as 625 feet between 1993 and 2006 in some
areas, according to a new report.

What the report is missing is analysis to determine whether the impact is in
line with federal modeling conducted in 2002.

However, some say the raw data reveal obvious impacts to groundwater

The Powder River Basin Resource Council issued a statement Tuesday
suggesting the monitoring data proves the actual groundwater drawdown --
largely from the development of coal-bed methane gas -- far exceeds
predictions made by federal officials in 2002.

"Many of these aquifers in the arid West take 10,000 years to recharge to
the levels they had before (coal-bed methane) depletion, according to some
hydrologists," PRBRC Chairman Bob LeResche said.

About 600 million barrels of water are pumped from coal aquifers in the
Powder River Basin each year in the production of coal-bed methane,
according to the state. Some of the water is used in irrigation and to water
livestock, but a majority of the water -- which belongs to the state -- is
not put to a specific beneficial use.