Powder River Basin Resource Council (Resource Council) and its affiliate, Cheyenne Area Landowners Coalition (CALC), welcomed the announcement Thursday that EOG Resources has withdrawn its application for a wastewater injection well in Laramie County.
The Pole Creek 148-25H well would have injected roughly 25,000 barrels of toxic wastewater per day into the Sussex Aquifer, which is currently a potential drinking water source for the Cheyenne area. The well would have been located north of the Durham and Triple Crown subdivisions.
“We are very pleased to see that EOG has withdrawn this injection well application. To risk our potential drinking water sources by injecting over one million gallons of wastewater per day into the Sussex Aquifer was not a good plan,” said Alex Bowler, president of CALC. “The consequences of a mishap during the drilling and operation of this well are too important to the rural residents of Laramie County to take the risk of contaminating their drinking water and destroying their way of life.”
“With Cheyenne’s projected growth, the city and surrounding communities will eventually need to find additional water resources, and protecting the Sussex Aquifer ensures that we have options,” said Robin Arquilla, CALC member. “Studies have shown that injection wells often leak, threatening the nearby domestic water wells. This isn’t a risk we’re willing to take.”
The Resource Council and CALC were scheduled to present at a hearing before the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission in March. The Resource Council’s formal protest against the well included an expert report from hydrogeologist Mike Wireman, a former groundwater expert with EPA.
Wireman’s report found that EOG put forward scant evidence to justify its permit application and associated request for an aquifer exemption, and could not justify that the proposed contaminated area would stay within its permitted zone. Wireman had planned to testify at the hearing regarding his findings, putting pressure on EOG to conduct more analysis of the aquifer.
“We hope EOG learns a lesson from our protest and does a more thorough job for future injection well applications,” said Arquilla.
Meanwhile, the Resource Council and CALC will continue to be engaged in the permits for two other injection wells in the area. The proposed sites for these wells are east of Cheyenne and also near Durham and Triple Crown subdivisions.
“We will continue working to address the problems with these two wells and to protect valuable drinking water sources in Laramie County,” said Bowler.