Quality Council Sides With Ranchers In CBM Water Case

CHEYENNE, (AP) - The Wyoming Environmental Quality Council has sided with a Powder River Basin ranching couple who contested a coal-bed methane water permit. The permit was issued under rules withdrawn by the state and criticized by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The council sided 4-2 with Marge and Bill West, who contested a state permit held by Stephens Energy Company. Sheridan-based landowner group the Powder River Basin Resource Council says the ruling could have important consequences for Wyoming's entire coal-bed methane industry. State officials question that. They say Wyoming no longer is issuing permits under the withdrawn rules and few people are contesting permits issued previously under those rules. A task force is discussing new rules.

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