Tuesday notesAug 15, 2017 By Steven R. Peck, Publisher
We got the details wrong
First, a correction. Last Thursday's editorial, the latest in an occasional series about the value of public-notice advertisements, contained errors in its description of Aethon Energy's progress in developing the big Moneta Divide natural gas project in eastern Fremont County.
A public-notice advertisement informed readers of a hearing in September in Casper, where Aetheon would continue its permitting process.Key to the misinformation was our using the word "groundwater" to describe what in legal industrial terms is properly called "produced water," as well as misinterpreting the word "exemption" as published in the legal notice.
The gas production process produces water from the same formation that the gas comes from, and it must be disposed of properly. The developer's mandate under law is proper handling of the "produced water." Thursday's wording that gas production "displaces groundwater," and that this was the reason Aethon was applying for an "exemption" that would allow it "to go forward even though its process won't strictly be in compliance with state law" was inaccurate.
In fact, the process identified in the legal notice is nothing out of the ordinary and completely in line with state law. Nothing Aethon is doing or proposing has been found to be outside compliance with industry regulations or state statutes. It simply is seeking approval, through normal permitting, to dispose of the produced water in an alternate formation that already has been approved in the Moneta Divide field.
Nothing is being appealed, no red flags about groundwater have been raised, and no special permission is being sought. Aethon is applying for standard permitting so that the produced water can be disposed of in a location that is legally permitted to receive that water, in a place that will comply with regulations while still allowing the developer to do its work.
This process is well-established through state law. Produced water often can be dealt with simply by putting it back into the subsurface that the water came from, or similar locations approved by regulatory agencies. When, for whatever reason, that first, most-basic option isn't suitable for the particular field, then a different plan, called an "exemption," is required.
It happens all the time, and it has nothing to do with any violations, special treatment, or circumventing standard procedure. In fact, what Aethon is doing is long-established practice, and the law is being followed to the letter as Aethon files the routine appropriate paperwork with the Oil and Gas Commission of Wyoming.
The two larger points of the editorial - first, that this project potentially is an economically transformative development for Fremont County that most people here are pulling for, and second, that important information about public issues is contained in the fine print of public-notice ads - remain intact.
But we blew the details in this case, and for that we apologize. And thanks to the state and Aethon officials who brought the matter to our attention promptly and courteously.
Many longtime residents of central Wyoming recall summers when we might have received no more than a quarter inch for rain the entire season, with weeks on end with nary a drop. How nice, and unusual, then, to have had four good showers in a week's time. Now what we need is clear weathernext Mondayfor You Know What.
In addition to the daily newspaper, which will continue to have lots of solar eclipse coverage in the days ahead, we have two publications related to the eclipse in the works as well. The first is the new edition of Wind River Country Magazine, which now can be found at many free locations around Fremont County - and, we're always proud to note, every flight of Denver Air Connection as the jet zips from Riverton to Denver to Sheridan and back again. The 64-page number is the biggest Wind River Country Magazine yet, and we hope it's a welcome and useful guide for visitors flocking to our part of Wyoming for the eclipse.
The second publication is our in-paper eclipse guide. It went on the pressTuesdaymorning and will be inWednesday'seditions of the Ranger and Lander Journal, and we plan to have it in Thursday's Wind River News as well.
These publications take work to produce, and the work cannot be done without the support of local advertisers. Please use your dollars at those businesses which support the local newspaper.
On the web
Our dailyranger.comwebsite has won three Wyoming Press Association awardsin five years. We are pleased with that, but it's time for an update. The new-look dailyranger.comis taking shape and should be fully operational within a week. Craig Blumenshine, our columnist and part-time sportswriter who also works full time as a producer and host for Wyoming PBS, is our web designer.
Glasses sold out
Never say newspaper advertising doesn't work. Since we first advertised last week that we had eclipse safety glasses for sale at The Ranger office, we sold nearly 2,000 pairsin four days. Now, we're sold out.
Happy birthday, Riverton, and here's to a good week.