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Norton Pushing To Triple Coal-Bed Methane Permits In Wyoming

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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-23-04 01:15 PM
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Norton Pushing To Triple Coal-Bed Methane Permits In Wyoming
DENVER "Interior Secretary Gale Norton said this week that her agency wants to triple the number of drilling permits approved in Wyoming's natural gas fields to help meet the nation's growing energy needs.


The Bush administration is pushing for speedier approval of permits to drill for gas on federal land in the Rockies. Companies have complained that it takes up to three times as long to process permits on federal land than on private or state property. Norton said her agency's goal is to increase to 3,000 from about 1,000 the number of permits approved annually on Bureau of Land Management land in Wyoming's Powder River Basin.


Jill Morrison of the Powder River Basin Resource Council, a Sheridan, Wyomingbased conservation group, said residents will watch to see how the bureau handles the increase in permits. She contends the bureau isn't doing the kind of analysis needed to determine the cumulative impacts of drilling on a broad scale.

Residents have complained about water wells going dry because of pumping on neighboring property, she said. She also called bonds required to cover cleanup costs "woefully minimal." "There is going to be a huge taxpayer liability here for the cost of cleanup and reclamation that the government hasn't even begun to account for," Morrison said."

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