Have you ever been outside around twilight and your eyes keep adjusting to the fading light so you don’t realize just how dark it’s getting? All of a sudden you say to yourself, “Hey, it’s dark out here.” Well, our Wyoming drilling friends, that’s what’s going on with oilfield by-product water and how our regulators are handlings things.
Forget what it says on government letterhead about the role, responsibilities, and the agenda of our regulators. Very simply, there are many (but not all) bureaucrats in government roles who are determined to shut down drilling. And figuratively speaking, it’s about 8 o’clock on a summer night and we don’t realize that the light is just about all gone.
There’s a complex chess game going on, while Wyoming oil companies are busy playing checkers. The forces that want to shut down drilling have realized that the lever that keeps the drilling and oil production reduced or dwindling is very simply the by-product water that comes from the oil well.
If you can’t do something with all this water, you can’t drill. It’s just that simple.
So, since our regulators can’t politically block drilling directly, they are actively blocking green, conservation-minded initiatives to clean up the by-product water to become what we in Wyoming call, “beneficial-use.” States have different names, but we just mean water that can be used for something other than throwing away by injecting back in the ground.
The very people tasked with the job of protecting our land, water, and air are happy to allow by-product water that is of unknown makeup to be injected back into a hole in the ground. They are happy to block all new green initiatives that help deal with this water so that a (at best) risky “disposal” method can continue. Meanwhile, voices are calling for disclosure of what’s in the water that is being allowed dangerously close to our ground water in these “injection wells.” So, in this way, oil production continues to cause collateral damage and gives ammunition to the voices to stop drilling all together.
You see, protecting the environment is not the end goal of some of these regulators. And that’s the chess game we’re all playing, whether we realize it or not. The end goal is to shut down drilling in Wyoming.
So, Wyoming, it’s your move.
If you want to talk about this, give a shout. We’re already up on this soapbox, so we’re happy to keep talking.