Air, Water Concerns Remain After Wyoming Well Blowout

August 16, 2006

Some of the dozen or so people who were evacuated from their homes in Clark, Wyo., due to a gas well blowout said they continued to be alarmed by possible air and water contamination.

The blowout occurred Friday and a roughly two-mile-long area along Line Creek was evacuated a few hours later. The evacuation continued until the well was plugged with mud early Monday.

“I’m disappointed our state agencies aren’t taking this emergency more seriously,” said Deb Thomas, a resident near the Windsor Energy LLC, drill site.

Another Clark resident, Dan Renner, said he planned to meet Thursday with Mike Blymyer, manager of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s Cody Field Office, to discuss the situation. “We’re very hopeful the BLM will help us in protecting our community and the greater Yellowstone ecosystem,” he said.

Thomas and Renner said they were concerned about inadequate emergency management plans, including a plan in case of an accident at a gas pipeline that Oklahoma City-based Windsor is building alongside homes in the area.

Thomas said local emergency workers did well. “But an incident like that isn’t something our small, rural fire department should be expected to deal with,” she said.

Blymyer said his staff planned to meet with the state Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and state Department of Environmental Quality to investigate whether contaminants were released into the aquifer supplying water to area homes.

He said the issue had implications for a 3-D seismic survey that Windsor Energy planned for next month.

Blymyer said his staff was working on the issues “as expeditiously as we can.”

Don Likwartz, supervisor of the state’s Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, said water wells around the area had been tested and results would be available within a day or two.

Park County Attorney Bryan Skoric said county officials had been in touch with the governor’s office and were expecting representatives from state regulatory agencies to arrive in Clark on Tuesday. Skoric said air and water experts from the DEQ as well as Likwartz were scheduled to visit the site.

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