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Contact Information

National Wildlife Federation Tribal Lands Conservation Program Billings, MT Office 406-252-2886 Bonogofsky@nwf.org
Montana Wildlife Federation P.O. Box 1175
Helena, MT 59624
Phone: 406-458-0227
Fax: 406-458-0373
Toll Free: 800-517-7256
http://www.montanawildlife.com Wyoming Wildlife Federation P.O. Box 106 Cheyenne, WY 82003 Phone: 800-786-5434 Fax: 307-637-6629 info@wyomingwildlife.org www.wyomingwildlife.org/

Powder River Basin News

New scientific study: Coalbed methane wells harm groundwater

A peer-reviewed scientific study published in the March issue of the Journal of Hydrology details the negative effects that coalbed methane development could have on aquifers in the Powder River Basin. The simulation indicates that groundwater depletion will affect river flows in the region by depleting groundwater discharge and natural recharge of the rivers. Read the full story from Queen City News .

Energy bills attract crowd to hearing

Bills representing the main thrust of GOP efforts to spur energy development in Montana were considered by lawmakers Wednesday, sparking long lines of supporters and opponents to spill into the hearing room.  Two of the bills, House Bills 483 and 566, would set stricter restrictions on public appeals to halt energy projects. If they pass, members of the public would have to file appeals more quickly and potentially post a bond to help offset the costs of delay to the developer. Read the whole story from the Billings Gazette .

Second appeal filed on BLM's Powder River plan in Wyoming

The Biodiversity Conservation Alliance and nature photographer George Wuerthner have appealed a federal court ruling on the Bureau of Land Management's 2003 coalbed methane plan for Wyoming's Powder River Basin. Read the story from the Casper Star-Tribune .

Groups appeal BLM's Coalbed Methane document

Several landowner and environmental groups joined to file an appeal of a federal document that opened the way for the coal-bed methane gas industry in the Powder River Basin. Read the full story from the Casper Star-Tribune .

Opinion: Re-enact the oil shale moratorium

At best, oil shale development may delay a transition to renewable energy that we will have to make in the future anyway. That delay will come at a terrible cost to the West and perhaps to the planet.

Read this article from the Denver Post .

Producers cut back on coal and CBM drilling in WY

Peabody Energy, Wyoming's biggest coal producer, announced Wednesday it plans to trim its Powder River Basin coal production by 10 million tons this year because of the recession and weakening global demand. Read this story here.

Also, in response to lower regional wholesale prices, several producers, including Questar Corp. and EnCana Corp., announced plans to address the oversupply of natural gas the only way they can: temporarily cut back on new drilling. Read this story here.

Both stories appear in the January 7th edition of the Casper Star-Tribune.

CBM discharge up for debate

The Wyoming Legislature once again will consider whether to regulate the amount of water that may be discharged from coal-bed methane wells.  House Bill 14, sponsored by the interim committee that oversees water resources, would limit the amount of water that could be discharged from CBM wells to the natural capacity of streambeds and other drainages.  Read the full story from the Casper Star-Tribune .

Montana courts rule on coalbed-methane water cases

Opponents to unregulated pumping of groundwater during coalbed-methane drilling operations in Montana were handed a couple of court victories this week when a state district court ruled that such discharge water was indeed groundwater and the Montana Supreme Court held the state has the authority to set limits on the saline content of the water.  Read the story from the Helena Independent Record .

Plan approved for gas drilling in Montana

The Bush administration on Tuesday approved a plan that could allow more than 18,000 natural-gas wells to be drilled in southeastern Montana in the next two decades. The decision by C. Stephen Allred, assistant secretary for land and minerals management at the Department of Interior, would allow companies to proceed with plans to drill on more than 1.5 million acres of federal land in Montana's remote Powder River Basin.  Continue reading this story from the Billings Gazette.

War on the Range

A new range war is spreading across the Rocky Mountain West. And this time, it's pitting ranchers against a modern-day nemesis: the gas industry.  At the center of the conflict is an explosion of drilling for coalbed methane gas over the past decade in iconic Western places like sage-covered buttes and mesas -- wide open spaces that, until recently, ranchers pretty much had to themselves. Read the rest of this story from The Wall Street Journal .

BLM is ready for new federal resource plan

The Bureau of Land Management is taking public comment on a management plan for the Powder River Basin over next 20 years.  The plan will establish how oil, gas, coal, grazing, wildlife and other resources are managed in the basin.  Read the rest of this story from LocalNews8.com .

Group calls for analysis in Powder River Basin

An environmental group says the Bureau of Land Management should conduct a broader analysis of possible climate change effects on the Powder River Basin before it issues more coal leases. Continue reading at the Billings Gazette

Railroad to go through major fish hatchery

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks officials say they've tentatively agreed to give the proposed Tongue River Railroad an easement through a major fish hatchery near the Yellowstone River.

Once-foreboding 'Warrior Trail' beckons

At the end of the Powder River Campaign in 1865, Col. Nelson Cole bitterly described his three-month march from Omaha, Neb., to the badlands of Eastern Montana.

His 1,400-man army had set out to rendezvous with two other military columns taking the field to challenge Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapahoe warriors fighting desperately to stem the westward tide of Euro-Americans.

For more of this story, click on or type the URL below: http://www.billingsgazette.net/articles/2008/09/05/news/state/27-once.txt

Montana DEQ says discharge water from Fidelity failing tests

A state department has started enforcement action against a coalbed methane producer for repeatedly failing toxicity tests on water it discharges into the Tongue River.

Fidelity Exploration and Production Co. violated the toxicity provision in its discharge permit 132 times in a 21/2-year period, from April 2006 through August 2008. The company also failed to submit an adequate compliance plan, said John Arrigo, administrator of Montana Department of Environmental Quality's Enforcement Division.

For more of this story, click on or type the URL below: http://www.billingsgazette.net/articles/2008/11/11/news/state/24-discharge.txt

Production to start at mine

GILLETTE - Peabody Energy has announced plans to start production next year at the School Creek mine in the Powder River Basin. The company plans to complete its permitting for the mine in the first half of next year. The mine, which has an estimated 800 million of tons of coal reserves, would be the first to open in Campbell County since 1998. Read the entire story from the Billings Gazette.

Northern Cheyenne to Honor Historic Battlefields

LAME DEER - The Northern Cheyenne Tribe is celebrating two battlefields being recognized as historic landmarks. In October, United States Department of Interior officials designated the Rosebud battlefield and Wolf Mountain battlefield as new historic landmarks. Read the entire stroy from kulr8.com.