July 30, 2019
Dallas-based Aethon Energy and Houston’s Burlington Resources are working to expand the Moneta Divide oil and gas field in Wyoming by 4,250 wells.
As part of the process, Aethon has applied for permits to dump oilfield wastewater into a central Wyoming river that flows to a major reservoir — and now an American Indian tribe is opposing the action.
Burlington became a subsidiary of ConocoPhillips in 2006.
Aethon plans to send more than 8 million gallons of produced water from the Moneta Divide into two creeks feeding the Wind River and Boysen Reservoir, and the company has said it will follow all regulations and will offer more water protections than those required under previous permits.
But the Wind River flows through the Wind River Indian Reservation, where the Northern Arapaho Indians share land with the Eastern Shoshone tribe and as some tribal organizations have done in the past, most notably in North Dakota, the Northern Arapaho Business Council is opposing the permits based on protection of water resources, according to the Associated Press.
“Maintaining the environmental quality of these resources for current and future generations is essential,” the council said in a letter to the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, which is now reviewing letters from the public comment phase of the permitting process so a determination on the permits is still weeks away.