GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) -- Ranchers, gas industry workers, environmentalists and state officials met in Gillette to discuss how water discharge from coal-bed methane wells should be regulated in the Powder River Basin.

The group was formed by the Department of Environmental Quality to help resolve differences over the issue. CBM wells have been pumping millions of gallons of groundwater to the surface, but some of the water is salty and can create problems for ranchers.

Bob LeResche of the Powder River Basin Resource Council says his reaction to the group's first meeting on Wednesday was one of despair, because he felt the state workers acted as if nothing could be changed.

And EPA regional wastewater chief Sandra Stavnes says her agency isn't satisfied that the surface discharge program meats federal requirements.

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Information from: Casper Star-Tribune - Casper, http://www.trib.com

Copyright 2009 The AP.

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