The Fight Over Coalbed Methane Drilling

While Wyoming’s Powder River Basin is ground zero for the growing battle over coalbed methane drilling, the conflict is causing flare-ups from Montana to New Mexico.

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


Coverage from Mother Jones and High Country News

A Rural Flare-Up
By Rebecca Clarren
November 4, 2002
Throughout the Intermountain West, plans for coalbed methane development on private land are pitting county officials against state regulators, and rural residents against the gas industry.

The New Range Wars
By Verlyn Klinkenborg
November/December 2002
They come on your land and take what lies beneath. In Wyoming’s coalbed methane country, it’s the ranchers versus the wildcatters.

Open Season on Open Spaces
By Bob Burtman
July/August 2002
The Bush administration has made energy development on public lands its priority number one. The wild West will never be the same.

Ten Regions at Risk
July 3, 2002

From the high alpine valleys of Montana to the border grasslands of New Mexico, the energy rush is on. We review how the Bush administration’s plans for accelerating energy production in the west is threatening ten wilderness areas.

More coverage of coalbed methane drilling from High Country News

Local governments tackle an in-your-face rush on coalbed methane
By Ray Ring
September 2, 2002
For people worried about coalbed methane development on private lands, local governments seem to be the only line of defense.

Land board says, ‘Look before you lease’
By Adam Burke

May 13, 2002
The rush to develop methane on Wyoming’s public lands has hit a regulatory speed bump of undetermined size.

Montana gets a crash course in methane
By Hal Clifford
November 5, 2001
The Powder River Basin doesn’t end at the Wyoming state line; about one-third of the sprawling basin lies in Montana.

Colliding forces: Has Colorado’s oil and gas industry met its match?
By Rebecca Clarren
September 25, 2000
The majority of Colorado’s 70,000-plus oil and gas wells are in rural counties where real estate development is burgeoning.

Special Report: Coalbed Methane Boom

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest