Absaroka TIM Dispatches from the Field 9/23 Clark, Wyoming

Thirty miles north of Cody, at the mouth Clark’s Fork Canyon, the town of Clark is a wide spot in the road with houses sprinkled across wind-blown sage flats. Spectacular mountains tilted on their sides form the backdrop.

I met Deb Thomas of Powder River Resource Council for a tour of the Clark area and to gain an understanding of how things went awry with drilling on private lands. Deb and her husband grew up in the area and settled on a small ranch along Line Creek. It’s their special piece of the West, with an apple orchard and unlimited horseback riding. It’s also just downstream from the August 11, 2006 drilling rig blowout about 1/2 mile away from the Thomas’. Area residents have been heavily impacted, with severe water and air contamination and the chemicals in the earth continue to migrate through the complex plumbing on the east side of Yellowstone, keeping residents at risk. Unbelievably, Windsor Energy, the company responsible for this catastrophe, would like to drill 1/4 mile west of Crosby 3 on Shoshone NF land. Yet another pathetic example of industry regulating itself.