State Says Microbe Gas Company Broke the Rules
Before Ciris Energy Inc. successfully lobbied for a new law allowing for the microbial production of coal-bed methane gas in Wyoming, it got in trouble under the state’s existing rules.
Ciris Energy Inc. allegedly injected chemicals into the Fort Union coal formation in the Powder River Basin without first obtaining a permit for the action, according to state records. Company representatives are scheduled to appear before the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission when it meets Tuesday in Casper.
Ciris also faces enforcement action for the same alleged violation by the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality which issued a “notice of violation” to Ciris on December 10, under the agency’s authority to oversee injections into “waters of the state.” The company’s defense, according an email from a Ciris representative to a Wyoming state legislator, is that the permitting responsibility was with the well owner, not Ciris.
At this point, the charges are merely accusations. The Oil and Gas Conservation Commission could dismiss its case against Ciris. DEQ could rescind its notice of violation, which happens frequently, or Ciris could face monetary penalties in one or both cases.
Ciris maintains it should only face enforcement action from DEQ. However, it appears that Ciris has admitted to breaking the rules.
Sportsmen oppose Hoback Basin project
Time is running out to make comments on the proposed Eagle Prospect and Noble Basin projects in the Upper Hoback Basin of the Wyoming Range.
The project proposed by the Plains Exploration and Production Company, PXP, involves three test wells and could encompass a total of 136 wells. The leases purchased by PXP were grandfathered when the Wyoming Range Legacy Act was passed by Congress in 2009.
The final day to make comments to Bridger-Teton National Forest Supervisor Jacqueline Buchanan is March 11. A group called Citizens for the Wyoming Range hosted a rally in Rock Springs Monday to encourage residents to comment on the proposal.
Dan Smitherman, an outfitter from Bondurant, presented information about the proposal to residents and sportsmen who recreate in the Hoback Basin. Smitherman said the group isn’t like most environmental groups because they do support energy exploration and are not against the energy industry. Smitherman said he believes there are appropriate places to develop natural resources and areas better left alone.