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The state of Wyoming has closed its public consultation of new draft rules that aim to protect groundwater from contamination associated with fracking operations. Under the proposed regulation, oil and gas companies will be required to monitor the quality of nearby groundwater and compare it to base measurements taken prior to the start of drilling operations.
The rules were presented by the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and were drafted after residents of the town of Pavillion claimed that fracking operations led to the contamination of the town's water, the Casper Star-Tribune reported. The move has been backed by Gov. Matt Mead who claimed that testing water quality would ensure the protection of landowners who rely on water located close to drilling sites.
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The public consultation on the proposed rules closed last week and according to the Star-Tribune, all stakeholders had criticisms. Changes to the draft regulation were proposed by the industry, landowners and environmental groups.
For instance, the Petroleum Association of Wyoming argued that the testing regulations covered too many substances, some of which had nothing to do with fracking but were associated with agriculture. On the other hand, environmentalists objected to the number of proposed groundwater tests, claiming that establishing a baseline is only possible with a more extensive testing. In addition, they stated that limits on dissolved methane levels should be stricter.