‘Don’t Poison Boysen’: Deadline Friday to protest plan to dump oilfield wastewater

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CASPER, Wyo. — A deadline is approaching for the public to comment on a plan to dump 8.27 million gallons of oilfield wastewater per day into the Boysen Reservoir and the Wind and Big Horn rivers.

The Wyoming Outdoor Council says that the deadline to to submit comments to the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality is Friday, July 5.

“This Friday, July 5, is the deadline for public comment on a significantly flawed plan to dump up to 8.27 million gallons per day of oilfield wastewater in the Moneta oil and gas field, threatening human health and aquatic life for hundreds of miles downstream,” the Wyoming Outdoor Council said.

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“There are solutions that don’t risk clean water for energy development. Join us in asking the DEQ to consider options that better safeguard our Wyoming way of life.”

The proposal to dump the wastewater comes from Texas-based Aethon Energy, the Wyoming Outdoor Council says.

“Boysen is a recreational hotspot, and the Bighorn is a Class 1 Blue Ribbon trout stream,” they said. “Although not disclosed in the permit, this produced water may contain chemicals used in fracking — chemicals that could harm fish, wildlife, and human health.”

“The draft permit allows Aethon to dump more than 2,100 tons of total dissolved solids — including 719 tons of chloride — into Boysen Reservoir each month.”

The Wyoming Outdoor Council says that the DEQ has already granted the proposal, but that the public comment period has been extended.

“We joined conservation organizations, tribes, municipalities, and downstream irrigators to ask the state to extend the public comment period on this proposal, which DEQ granted,” the Wyoming Outdoor Council said. 

“Wyomingites care about our water quality, our wildlife, and our outdoor recreation. We will continue to analyze the many water quality impacts of this project.”

The council has prepared a fact sheet with information about the potential risks of the proposal.

They’re also encouraging concerned citizens to submit comments to the Bureau of Land Management on a proposal to drill up to 4,100 wells as part of the Moneta Divide Project.

The deadline to submit those comments is July 19. The Wyoming Outdoor Council also provided a fact sheet people can refer to when considering their comments to the BLM.

“Wyoming is home to clean, cold rivers and streams that support world class native trout fisheries,” the Wyoming Outdoor Council said.

“These waters provide agricultural irrigation, wildlife habitat, support for guiding and outfitting industries, and ensure that residents have safe drinking water and access to year round recreation. That’s why we advocate for Wyoming’s water quality.”