CHEYENNE, Wyo., June 14 (UPI) -- The Environmental Defense Fund said it welcomed legislation proposed in Wyoming for groundwater testing near oil and natural gas operations.
Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead unveiled draft legislation this week for groundwater testing before, during and after oil and natural gas exploration operations in the state.
Mead this year published a 31-page report outlining a state energy strategy. He said the state has to strike a balance between oil and natural gas development and environmental conservation.
"Collecting baseline water data is a necessary step both supporting important energy development and protecting a vital resource -- our water," Mead said in a statement published Tuesday.
EDF Senior Energy Policy Manager Jon Goldstein said testing programs like Mead's are a first line of defense against groundwater contamination.
"We are still reviewing these rules, but they appear to establish a solid, scientifically valid approach to establishing groundwater conditions in areas where oil and gas drilling will occur," he said Thursday.
Mead's report says the state is the No. 3 natural gas producer and the 8th largest oil producer in the nation.