Gulf disaster stirs worries in Rockies

Could anything similar happen despite Wyoming’s inland location?

The corrupt and discredited Minerals Management Service (MMS) both regulates and collects royalties from off-shore oil and gas. Inland, the BLM does the same, and that agency is full of problems too.  You have to wonder if Salazar has been on the job correcting the BLM’s decline through the Dick Cheney years?

Oil and gas disasters are possible in Wyoming, New Mexico, Montana, etc.  A hydrogen sulfide (that’s the very lethal rotten egg gas) blowout from natural gas wells, natural gas explosions, massive river pollution affecting the critical Green and Colorado Rivers are all possible.

This article in the Casper Star Tribune looks at it a bit from the view of conservationists but even more from the Wyoming oil industry. Diemer True (True Oil Company), who is quoted several times at the end of the article is one of the most powerful people in Wyoming.

Is a political overreaction to the oil gusher really possible with the oil and gas industry so well placed at the national, state and, in many places, local level? Or is it more likely nearly impossible to do anything of lasting consequence in the face of such political power?

Gulf disaster stirs worries in Rockies. By Dustin Bleizeffer. Star-Tribune energy reporter. Casper Star Tribune.




  1. Chris Harbin Avatar
    Chris Harbin

    Some, notably Sarah Palin, have said it is safe to drill on land. While it may well be relatively “safer” some of the folks quoted in the article are correct in that it is far from safe. This would be particularly true in ANWR.

  2. Dan Avatar

    How timely. There was an oil spill in Salt Lake City today from a Chevron pipeline. It started at the Red Butte Creek and has made it’s way to Liberty Park and the Jordan River. Not good. Reports of oil-covered ducks and dead fish.,0,5422602.story

  3. Angela Avatar

    I guess the only good thing is that the Jordan River is already a Superfund site stocked with hatchery trout and catfish. I’d say it’s definitely timely. Makes the Deepwater Horizon seem less of an anomaly and more like a warning of the damage we are doing to our environment.

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      Unfortunately, I think the oil blowout itself is so huge that we are far beyond the warming stage for the environment. We are into the we-shall-suffer-stage; but yes, Angela there are plenty who still don’t even see it as a warming.

  4. Nancy Avatar

    Watched an interesting documentary last night called Home (narrated by Glenn Close) Kind of along the same lines as Food, Inc. but more to do with what the human species has done to the earth in the last 100 years in our quest for fuels. Worth the watch if you haven’t seen it yet.

  5. Nancy Avatar

    A link to the site where the movie is available to download:

  6. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Here is the latest on the Salt Lake City pipeline break. It appears to be more irresponsibility by an oil company to monitor, and it was a lot of oil for a mere creek.

  7. mikepost Avatar

    In 1910 in California a blown well gushed crude oil for 17 months and spewed 378 million gallons of crude onto the landscape. This is 5 or 6 times larger than the current Gulf spill. It blew out 2,200′ underground and could not be capped and only ceased activity when it hollowed out a cavity which then collapsed upon itself, sealing the well. Fortunately it was a drought period, because if we had had an El Nino year, the flooding could have spread the oil far and wide thru the watershed. It can happen…


  8. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    More on the Salt Lake City, Utah oil pipeline break-

    Containment the goal of initial oil spill cleanup. Oil leak » EPA, Coast Guard officials join Chevron-led investigators to look into why the pipeline failed Saturday.
    By Mike Gorrell
    The Salt Lake Tribune

  9. Wyo Native Avatar
    Wyo Native

    Could it happen in Wyoming? Hell it already did a little over a month ago in the Bridger Valley, and it was four times larger than the spill that occurred in Utah this last weekend. We had a pipeline break a few miles from my house near Robertson, that spilled 2000+ barrels or 84,000 gallons. The spill then caught fire and created a thick black smoke that covered a portion of the valley. Fortunately irrigation season had not started yet, so the oil did not reach any water ways. If it would have occurred this last weekend during the flooding, the oil would have made it to the Colorado River in a hurry.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

Subscribe to get new posts right in your Inbox

Ralph Maughan