Is That USGS or USBS?
Here’s some news to make you think twice about the reliability of government figures: The U.S. Geological Survey has announced that there is far more coal bed methane gas available in the Powder River Basin than previously thought — while simultaneously acknowledging that the Rocky Mountain West contains far less oil than the agency had claimed in earlier estimates. In the Powder River Valley, which straddles Montana and Wyoming, the USGS says there is a whopping 14 times more coal bed methane than suggested in initial studies, for a total of some 14.3 trillion cubic feet. (That estimate reflects all gas in the region, not just the portion that would be economically feasible to extract.) Despite environmental concerns, the basin is widely seen as a cornerstone of the Bush administration’s energy policy. Meanwhile, the USGS estimated that it had exaggerated its 1995 estimate of oil in the Rocky Mountain West, another favored Bush energy source, by 844 million barrels.