The state of Wyoming participated in additional reporting about state and local natural resource governance, revenues, and disbursements.
The state of Wyoming regulates extraction and interacts with extractive industry companies in Montana, particularly when they’re operating on state or private land.
The Wyoming Department of Revenue assesses, collects, manages, and distributes revenue from companies engaged in extraction of oil, natural gas, coal, and other natural resources in Wyoming. At the local level, county governments directly collect ad valorem taxes related to extraction. The Department of Revenue publishes:
The Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission ensures that oil and gas wells and operations comply with state environmental laws, as well as regulating mining activities on state land. It publishes rules and regulations, and its activities include:
- Permitting all oil and gas wells
- Maintaining well records
- Performing field inspections
- Performing orphan well plugging
- Holding reclamation bonds on mine operations
The Wyoming Office of State Lands and Investments leases, controls, and collects royalties from mineral extraction on state trust land.
The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) leads activities to conserve the environment and support responsible stewardship of Wyoming’s resources. DEQ’s permitting process covers all activities associated with mining, from exploration to reclamation commitments.
- The Air Quality Division issues air quality permits, particularly in the Upper Green River Basin.
- The Water Quality Division works to ensure the proper disposal of wastewater, and monitors water quality. It also permits underground injections of wastewater, reclaims discharge impoundments related to coal bed methane production, and works with the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and Land Quality Division to regulate underground wastewater injection through the Underground Injection Control Program. The Water Quality Division also maintains its own list of rules and regulations.
- The Solid and Hazardous Waste Division inspects hazardous waste storage and disposal.
- The Land Quality Division regulates surface mining operations and surface operations for underground mines, works to ensure reclamation following mining, establishes reclamation bond amounts, and holds reclamation bonds on mine operations. It publishes annual reports that include bond amounts.
- The Abandoned Mine Land Division administers the federal AML program for coal and select hardrock reclamation projects.
The Wyoming State Geological Survey also provides geological information about natural resources.
State laws and regulations
Wyoming’s constitution includes an article governing mining, Article 9, which created the Office of the Inspector of Mines and a school of mines, directs the legislature to provide for the development and operation of mines, and secures the right of action for injuries.
The Wyoming Statutes Annotated have several sections that govern natural resource extraction, including:
- Title 30: Mines and Minerals
- Title 39: Taxation (including ad valorem taxes and the Mine Product Tax)
- Title 36: State Lands (including mineral leasing)
- Title 35, Chapter 11 (from the Wyoming Environmental Quality Act): Air, water, and land quality, as well as abandoned mine land reclamation and orphan site remediation (see articles 2-4, 12, and 17)
Wyoming rules and regulations are maintained by the Office of the Secretary of State, which publishes a rules search tool for finding rules by department or topic.
In addition to generating revenue and economic activity, extractive industries can bring costs to state and local communities.
In Wyoming, analysis of those costs has centered on Campbell County (coal production) and Sublette County (oil & gas production):
- The Campbell County case study provides a holistic look at the impact of extractive industries in the northeastern part of the state.
- Most information about socioeconomic impacts in Sublette County and its municipalities comes from the 2009 Sublette County Socioeconomic Impact Study (PDF). This report, which was commissioned by Sublette County Commissioners, focuses on whether revenues returned to and retained by Sublette County are sufficient, rather than whether enough state or local taxes are paid by the companies participating in extraction.
In the 2010 Campbell County Coal Belt Transportation Study (PDF), Campbell County and the Wyoming Department of Transportation estimated that county roads would require $43.9 million in investment between 2010 and 2015 to support coal extraction.
Traffic increased 86% in Sublette County and its municipalities from 2000 to 2007, largely due to natural resource extraction. In 2009, they estimated that projected road improvement projects would total $87.5 million from 2009 to 2012 and beyond. The self-contained nature of large coal mining operations in Sublette County contributes to higher transportation costs compared to Campbell County.
In Sublette County, natural resource extraction has led to population growth, which has increased demands on existing water systems. The town of Marbleton also drilled an additional water well to provide domestic and commercial water due to increased demand.
See state agencies for information about statewide water management.
Population growth due to increased natural resource extraction can increase demands on the medical, fire, and police services of states, counties, and towns.
Prior to 2001, the Sublette County Rural Health Care District had two all-volunteer Emergency Medical Services (EMS) units. By 2006, the district had hired 25 full-time emergency medical technicians. From 2001 to 2007, EMS runs increased 116% for the Pinedale facility and 94.47% for the Marbleton-Big Piney facility. To serve the Jonah gas field and the South Anticline, the district built a new EMS facility in 2007 at Sand Draw. Local industry paid for $900,000 of the cost of the facility, with the county paying $500,000.
Wyoming has been “certified” by the federal Abandoned Mine Land (AML) Reclamation program, meaning it has reclaimed its identified high-priority abandoned coal mine areas. It also means AML funds, which are sourced from fees paid by coal mine operators, can be used for a wider range of purposes beyond reclamation, including abandoned hardrock mine sites. The program currently estimates that Wyoming has $77 million in unreclaimed coal AML sites and $18 million in unreclaimed non-coal AML sites (such as uranium mining sites). To learn more about recently completed projects and projects underway, search for Wyoming Annual Evaluation Reports in the OSMRE Oversight Document Database.
See state agencies for additional statewide reclamation activities.