In reality, the question we must wrestle with is how much environmental degradation are we willing to accept on our public lands and in the air we breath? It appears that Wyoming’s elected leaders do not want to have that conversation. Instead, Gov. Mead and his fellow Republican governors put out a “state-centric” energy policy for the entire nation — a hubristic approach to energy policy for a nation that the world looks to for leadership.
Over the past several years coal-bed methane gas operators in the Powder River Basin have idled thousands of wells due to low pricing, and a handful of operators struggle on the verge of bankruptcy.
Black Diamond Energy Inc. and Loral Operating, for example, each have failed to put up the full amount of state-mandated “idle well” bonding. Each has also failed to perform required “mechancial integrity testing” to ensure their idle wells do not create environmental or human health hazards.
In all, the fate of some 11,800 idle coal-bed methane wells in the basin remains uncertain, creating a potential liability that could cost millions of dollars to address.