Despite warnings to companies that it was slowing the process togrant water discharge permits for coalbed methane projects, theWyoming Department of Environmental Quality has issued four waterdischarge permits for Pennaco Energy Co.’s House Creek Project. Allwere approved following a 30-day public notice period.

Pennaco has been dewatering 37 wells in House Creek for severalmonths in areas with existing water discharge permits. The four newpermits allow the Denver-based company to begin dewatering 70additional wells, which have been drilled to the Big George Coal inthe House Creek Project.

Pennaco estimates that the new permits will give it the waterdischarge capacity to dewater another 270 wells through 2001. Ofthe 270 new wells planned, nearly 100 will be drilled to the BigGeorge Coal. Another 170 are slated for drilling to the WyodakCoal. Pennaco owns 100% working interest in the House CreekProject.

Since October, DEQ has slowed down issuing water dischargepermits in the Powder River Basin to address concerns about waterquality, water volumes and permit procedures (see Daily GPI, Nov. 28, Nov. 6). DEQ is holding a public hearing Jan. 3, 2001 to allowfor a thorough review of technical data, policies and proceduralmethods related to discharge permitting in various areas of thebasin.

Pennaco said that the recent slowdown would have no affect onits production profile over the next several months since most ofits wells already have permits in p lace. The company has 12additional permit applications awaiting approval by DEQ, and oneapproval is expected by next week.

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