The Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission has approved a baseline groundwater testing rule that many claim is the best in the country. The five-member commission, which includes Gov. Matt Mead, unanimously passed the final rule today in Casper.
Officials in Wyoming were caught flat-footed when residents outside the town of Pavillion began asking tough questions about hydraulic fracturing and a sudden change in the quality of their drinking water, leading to nasty fights between residents, oil and gas operators, the state and federal agencies.
Last week Wyoming’s petroleum industry helped kill draft legislation that would give greater power to landowners to challenge Wyoming’s trade secret exemption in the disclosure of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
Wyoming Refining Co.’s oil refinery is situated literally on Main Street in Newcastle and a mere half-mile away from Newcastle High School. The school is equipped with a “panic button” that shuts off all ventilation in the building in the event of a toxic spill.
If there’s not an abrupt change of course in Wyoming’s rate of workplace fatalities, the Cowboy State is on track to lose 36 workers to on-the-job deaths this year. They will leave behind wives, husbands, daughters, sons, parents and friends — the type of tragedy that devastates families.
Just months prior to two flash fires at the Sinclair oil refinery (one on May 8 and another on May 25) injuring a total of six workers (at least three of them, regrettably, burned “severely”) Wyoming Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors had witnessed several other fires and fire hazards while performing a “process safety management audit,” according to the agency.