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The Government


The Wildlife


Employees of Questar


Residents living near Pinedale Mesa



Question 1


Question 2


Question 3


Question 4



Question 5



Question 6




Pine Mesa in Southern Wyoming has rich natural gas deposits trapped in sandstone. In
the 1990s industry developed techniques to get at such deposits by fracturing the sandstone to
free the gas. In 1998 Questar drilled a successful test well. After an environmental impact
statement was completed the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) approved drilling of up to
900 wells on federal lands on Pinedale Mesa.
There are some benefits. First, natural gas is clean source of energy (much cleaner
than fossil fuels). Second, exploiting this resource helps reduce U.S. dependence on foreign
energy supplies. Third, businesses and people in the Pinedale area benefit from the jobs,
benefits, and tax revenues. Lastly is the state of Wyoming benefits: 60% of the state revenues
come from royalties received from coal, gas, and oil operations".
In May 2004, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service undertook a review of the sage
grouse's status to determine whether the grouse should be listed as endangered. In Jan2005,
The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service has completed its status review of the greater sage-grouse
throughout its range and determined that the species does not warrant protection under the
Endangered Species Act at this time".
Therefore, Bureau of Land Management imposed restrictions to protect grouse by
Questar's roads, wells, and other structures had to be located at least 1/4 mile from grouse
breeding grounds & at least 2 miles from nesting areas and some studies also showed these
protections were insufficient and recommended increasing the 1/4 mile set back to at least 2
miles. Besides also to protect migration routes and wintering grounds of pronghorn and other
By Questar's directional drilling proposal, this would minimize the land occupied by
the wells: instead of separate 2-4 acre "pads" for each well, directional drilling would allow
16 wells per pad. Since directional drilling is more expensive, Questar's agreed to this only on
the condition that it be allowed to drill in the winter. BLM authorized Questar to drill wells at
a single pad from 2002-2007 as part of a study of its effects on wintering & migrating herds".
BLM preliminary report found "no conclusive data to indicate quantifiable adverse effects".


2.1. The Government
The U.S. government supported the drilling activity even though drillings impact on
wildlife. It is because 60% of the state budget is based on royalties the state receives from
coal, gas and oil operations. That was unethical on the ground of U.S government because
they prioritized state development rather than nature of wildlife. They think that animals life
was not important compared to local economic development.
2.2 The Wildlife
Occasionally elk, mule deer, pronghorn antelope and other wildlife descend from their
habits because of Questar drilled around Pinedale. The dramatic in number was blamed
primarily on the destruction of 50% of their sagebrush nesting and mating grounds in turn
was blamed on expanding acreage being given over to gas drilling and other mining activity.
The Questar Corporation is unethical to damaged wildlifes nesting and mating grounds in
order to conduct the drilling and mining activity. The company was thinking of profit rather
than balance of the ecological system.
2.3 Employees of Questar
During the drilling operation in Pinedale mesa, Questar hires people and engineers
from different regions all around the country in order to extract the natural gas effectively
while managing the operation optimally. Even though not directly related to the destruction
and harm done to the environment, the employees of Questar were still parties hired by
Questar for the drilling operations are actively involving themselves in destroying the habitat
of the mesa. Even though the commands came from the higher ups, employees of the
company are still acting on command, even though they knew that their actions would harm
the environment and the habitat of the mesa. The employees might even put blame on their
higher ups when things go awry.
However, it is the duty and responsibility for everyone, including the staffs of Questar
to be morally obligated to take good care of the environment. No matter the circumstances

are, the employees should decline and oppose the idea of destroying the environment in order
to survive. Without considering the harm done to the environment and only took care of
themselves, the employees should therefore seek redemption through halting the operation
through legal means and seek to preserve the mesa and habitat.
2.4 Residents living near Pinedale Mesa
Not only the company or the government was affected by the drilling operations of
Questar, as the residents living near Pinedale mesa were also affected. Various casual
activities such as hiking and fishing became a distant dream as the habitat of the area was
severely affected throughout the years. Throughout the years, the area has changed from an
ecological heaven to a hell hole. The drilling operation has affected the flora and fauna at the
mesa, causing residents who fishes or hunts to survive fail to provide for themselves.
Vegetation and plantation will also be affected, as the ecosystem has been disturbed.
Pollutants such as exhumed gas will affect insects such as bees which pollinates the plants.
Plants growth were also halted when the terrain of the area was altered in order for easier
drilling operation. Roads were built and trees were cut down in order for an easier drilling
operation. The residents living there will also have to suffer from the noise pollution. Even
though not directly affecting their lifestyles, noises of the drills might stress out the residents.
Questars quest for fortune and fame will cost the residents of Pinedale mesa their home.
Their lifestyles will not be sustainable anymore.

3.1 Question 1 - What are the systematic, corporate, and individual issues raised in this
a. Systematic Issues
i. Damage in Pinedale Mesa Landscape ecologically and beauty
Animals such as elk, mule deer, pronghorn antelope, and other wildlife, including the
imperiled greater sage grouse, descend from their habitats at mesa and gingerly pick
their way around and between the wells Questar drilled around Pinedale.
Environmentalists claim that serious negative effects on the wildlife on the mesa as
well as on the beauty of the area.
ii. Decreasing numbers of wildlife species
The dramatic decline in their number was blamed primarily on the destruction of 50
percent of their sagebrush nesting and mating grounds, which in turn was blamed on
livestock grazing, new home construction, fires and the expanding acreage being
given over to gas drilling and other mining activities.
iii. Reducing the need to import energy supplies from abroad
Natural gas is extracted in the United States; its use reduces United States reliance on
foreign energy supplies.
iv. Increasing local economy booming
Business around Pinedale also welcomed the drilling activity, which bought numerous
benefits, including jobs, increased tax revenues, and booming local economy.
b. Corporation Issues
i. The drilling pad is taking a big space in supporting the drilling rig.
Drilling a well typically required clearing and leveling a 2 to 4 acre pad to support the
drilling rig and other equipment.

ii. New technology cost too much

Questar proposed to invest in a new kind of drilling rig that allow up to 16 wells to be
dug from a single pad, instead of the traditional 1 or 2. The new directional drilling
technology added about RM500,000 to the cost of each well and required investing in
several new drilling rigs.
iii. Lacking the ability to do something due to seasonal activity
BLM requires Questar to cease all drilling operations on the mesa each winter from
November 15 to May 1. In fact, to protect animals the BLM prohibited all persons,
whether on foot or on automobile, from venturing into the area during winter. Being
forced to stop drilling operations during the winter months was extremely frustrating
and costly to Quester. Drilling crews had to be laid off at the beginning of winter, and
new crews had to be hired and retrained every spring. Because of the seasonal
interruption in its drilling schedule, the full development of its oil field was projected
18 years.
c. Individual Issues
a. Jim Sims suggested the funding scientific studies that would be designed to show
the sage grouse wasnt susceptible
According to Sims, the attempt to categorize the grouse as an endangered species
was spearheaded by environmental extremists who have converged on the American
West in an effort to stop virtually all economic growth and development.
b. Keeping the species at Pinedale Mesa out of the endangered species list
According to Dru Bower, endanger species listings are not good for the oil and gas
industry, so anything we can do to prevent a species from being listed in good for
d. Ecological Ethics
There are some ethical issues such as Ecological Ethic. Ecological Ethic is a moral duty to
protect the interest of human beings and non- human being. In the sense of Ecological
approach, non-humans have intrinsic value. On the other hand, Environmental rights
approach is the human rights to a livable environment. Finally, the market approach requires
external costs of volatile utility, rights, and justice so they should be internalized.

3.2 Question 2 - How should wildlife species like grouse or deer be valued, and how
should that value be balanced against the economic interests of a society or of a
company like Questar? What principles or rules would you propose we use to balance
the value of wildlife species against economic interest?
It is very hard to put a value on the ecosystem especially on the wildlife species. It is
unethical to rate or put a value on the living things. When rating of the ecosystem come into
the place, monetary valuation would be best suitable to be used. Monetary valuation measure
the value of ecosystem services to people by estimating the amount people are willing to pay
to preserve or enhance the services. The more cost they willing to pay to conserve the wildlife
species like grouse or deer the higher the value of the monetary value. There is still much
aspect to be reconsidering when we valuing the ecosystem. The balance of ecosystem would
be most important part that we should take note and also we must be taken into major
consideration. Balance of ecosystem life out of control extinction may happen that will lead a
disaster to the human.
For big company like Questar they should have awareness for the effect that the
action they take will lead to. They should obey the law of the nature and take care of every
step they come across. Questar must obey the rules and regulation of BLM restriction
ethically and morally when having the drill job been done in Pinedale Mesa concerning the
impact they could be done. Effort should be done by the company itself. They must wisely
use nature preservation in their management strategy. One of the ways they could do so is to
preserve some fund to help the work of conservation. Protection also must be done on the
resource value and the resource use. There is also needs for keeping their natural habitat safe
and sound. It can protect the population in the forest, keeping the rare one to from extinction
and facilitate them to breed. Ecological ethics also must take into concern when in Questar as
in any activities of they done in the company. Each development by them must be ethical and
must not cause corruption to the nature. Furthermore the development take been done must
be legal and strictly obeying environmental laws and their company policies.
Utilitarianism can be taken into account of the pain cause to the innocent animals.
Pain may be experience by the animal without us noticed. We dont know the consequences
we had done to the animal as we develop and lodge a new area. When doing this stuff we
must always ask ourselves is all living creatures are being treated as equally? We must take

justice in consideration also in developing the nature. Animals welfare is important. The
sustainability also needs to be reconsidered as we are using the nature resources. The usage of
the natural environment nowadays will keep on for our future generation or just we
consuming all that we need without thinking of them. We must take consideration in all
aspect when doing a management decision.

3.3 Question 3 - In light of the fast that natural gas reduces the U.S.s undesirable
dependence on foreign oil and the fact that natural gas produces less greenhouse gases
than coal, oil, and other fuels, should Questar continue its drilling operations? Does the
environment imply that Questar is morally obligated to stop drilling wells on the
Pinedale Mesa? Explain.
Questar is definitely morally obliged to be responsible on the environmental impact
for its drilling operations. No matter how important is the operation in terms of financial and
political, in no sense should Questar be polluting nature while depleting earths scarce
resources. Questar has violated the environmental justice, as the external cost of its drilling
operations has to be bared by other parties.
Several parties were harmed when Questar proceed to operate its business through
drilling and mining. One of the problems is the declining number of wildlife species. Due to
the mining and drilling operations, various fauna within the region has decreased
dramatically over the years. Sage grouse, an endangered species which resides at the mesa,
was also affected by the operations. Even though Questar has their wells built far from their
nesting areas, these sensitive birds are still affected by the presence of the companys mining
As stated by a local bureau official, the deer numbers within the region has passed a
threshold of 15 percent, which indicates a severe declination of the species over the years.
Mule deer on the mesa has declined by 60 percent compared to the number in 2001. In
addition, the survivability of female mule deer during winters has declined by 15 percent over
the years. Besides, the surface disturbance caused by Questar also adversely affects the
migratory birds. Salmon species, which spawns at the rivers, were also severely affected. This
shows that the damage of Questar to the environment cannot be undone, or requires a very
long time horizon in order to recover the ecosystem.
Another pollutant which seems to affect the ecosystem was the noise and movement
of the trucks for the operation during winter. These pollutants affect the wildlife during winter
and increase their vulnerability to harm. Therefore, BLM has halted Questars operations
during winters. Wastes were also released into the environment during the drilling operations.
Operating the machineries such as drills and trucks requires fuel, which upon combustion of

the duel, will be released into the atmosphere and changes the carbon footprint. Wastes like
carbon monoxide and Nitrogen oxide will affect the environment and ecosystem of the mesa,
causing undesirable disease and weakness amongst the flora and fauna which resides at the
In general, the habitat of the area was severely affected. In order to reverse the
situation, various steps were made in order to restore the habitat to its formal glory. However,
damages were done and reversing the damage might be a futile and costly attempt. In order
for the ecosystem to be rebuilt and flourish, the best option was for Questar to stop its
operations and leave the area immediately. This is the morally correct decision for Questar to
However, it is understandable that Questar wished to seek profit through its operations
at the mesa, as the natural gas could be used to generate revenue for the country, and reducing
the amount of imports from other countries. Revenue from this operation could help
providing benefits such as jobs, increased tax revenue, and improves overall local economy.
Drilling for the natural gas also provides a cleaner environmental alternative, as the substitute
fuel such as coal, has detrimental impact on the atmosphere when used for a long time.
Nevertheless, no matter how much benefit that the drilling operations might be, the
adverse effect of the drilling has caused more harm than good. The environment has suffered
for the sake of mankind. Questar has therefore violated the environmental rights, as not only
human, but the ecosystem and the habitat has the right to live in a livable and natural

3.4 Question 4 - What, if anything, should Questar and the other companies be doing
In my opinion, what Questar or the other companies should be doing differently is to
think the benefits of current and future welfare of wildlife. They can show their support
through ways which will create a win-win situation for all parties involved. As stated in
ecological ethics, despite that this will indeed benefits human beings or not, animals or plants
deserve to be preserved for their own sake. In a real world, people with anthropocentric view
only sees the environmental are valuable to them because it has significant benefits towards
human in their own daily lives. They thought that in the end, it would harm human being.
Thus, it is considered morally wrong to damage environmental because of that mind-set.
Other than that, certain non-utilitarian have claimed apart from bring benefits to human
beings, the life of every animal has their own value. Each animal has certain moral rights,
they have the right to be treated with respect because of the intrinsic value of its life. Humans
have a responsible generally to respect this right, although a humans right might override an
animals right in some special cases.
Questar and the other companies can take part in any sustainable development
programs, instead of continuously fighting back and forth between which matters are more
important, wildlifes well-being or company benefits. One of the programs that companies
can participate is Habitat Conservation Plan. Endangered Species Act of 1973 (Act) stated
that, recognizing that endangered and threatened species of wildlife and plants "are of
historical, ecological, educational, aesthetic, scientific and recreational value to the Nation
and its people." The Habitat Conservation Plan participants determined it would be more
practical give a more complete picture of the extent of effects, to state the impact of all
federal and nonfederal actions in one analysis and to develop a conservation package that
would sufficiently state all impacts. At the same time, providing additional conservation that
would contribute to the recovery of listed species. The Habitat Conservation Plan is an
innovative approach to enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of compliance with the
Endangered Species Act in a transparent, consistent and comprehensive manner. Conserving
species before they are in danger of extinction or are likely to become so can also provide
early advantages and prevent the need for listing.


Companies also can show their support by donating to Bureau of Land Management.
There is a project which supposed to build a fence in the Big Mesa pasture, approximately 10
miles northwest of LaBarge, Wyo. In order to facilitate control of livestock in the Big Mesa
pasture of the North LaBarge Common Allotment, the project suggests constructing roughly
2.6 miles of fence. These projects will allow the animals to stay out from drilling area and
enable them to reach their winter ranges. It would prevent the large herds wither and die off.
Moreover, this project will enable wildlife in the Mesa areas survived and extinction could be
In conclusion, Questar and other companies should think more about the benefits that
can be achieved as a whole and not for their own sakes only. Albert Schweitzer states that
He accepts as being good: to preserve life, to promote life, to raise to its higher value life
which is capable of development; and as being evil: to destroy life, to injure life, to repress
life which is capable of development. This is the absolute, fundamental principle of the


3.5 Question 5 - From an ethical point of view, was alternative (4) the best option among
those from which the BLM choose? Is another alternative better from an ethical point of
view? Explain your answer.
In the ethic point of view, the alternative 4 is not a best solution. If there is no other
option, BLM might consider alternative 4. There are many reasons we need to take into
account. Firstly, the Bureau allowed BLM to winter drilling, directly we are able to see the
effect towards the animals around the area. Many of the animals near that area will have to
change their place of living, route as well as the climate of the place. Animals are not human,
that correct! But, human beings are evolution of animals. So, they are unable to suit the place
that they are heading to.
Once they are unable to suit the climate, they will slowly extinct because the climate,
nesting place, mating place and so on. Furthermore, the place they are heading to do have
other animals at that area too. If these animals meet the meat eater type, they probably are
unable to live long. If they meet the same type, then they still can survive. Even though, the
Bureau prohibits BLM to drill at the mating place, nesting place, where BLM are only
allowed to drill after the core area, it is insufficient to let the animals to live long too. This is
because animals have very sharp senses. Senses of animals are 100 times sharpen then human
being. What we cant sense, they can. So, even the drilling are after the core area, but the
animals still can sense it indirectly, especially water, air and sound pollution is the major
pollution that will cause these animals to be extinct.
Neither alternative are ethical. It will only harm both human, in terms of return from
the investment whereas animals will face extinction sooner or later. Secondly, in the
advancement world, things changed very rapidly. Human beings tend to be following the
trend. So the same thing goes to the business world. In business world, there are many
unethical issue happens. The business world only concern on how to earn more and more
capital, build more buildings, raise more capital, all is concern on money. Same things goes
to BLM, if they are not a profit organisation, will they take the job? It certainly will not take
the job. Because business worlds only want to make profit, profit and profit. It is seldom
concern on the environment as long as they are able to generate profit from the investment. It
is request by Bureau to establish the funds for the environment issue problem if it is cause by
the drilling.

How can we be sure that there are no corruptions during the process of establishing
the funds? Does this ethical too? I think every country have the same problems. We are
unable to wipe out this unethical behaviour just that we can prevent it from being happened.
This is because human are greedy and materialistic in the modern society. So, what is ethic
and what is unethical is not their concern because the one who doing the drilling is not the
upper level, it is the workers who do the drilling. And of course, the upper levels sure have
ethical because they are the one who order not the doer.
So, there are many view of point. But there are no best for the both worlds. In my
opinion, the Bureau should have planned for the animals earlier where the animals should
head to, is it the suitable climate for them. They should plan it carefully where there will be
no environment issues for the animals. Both BLM and Bureau should think as if they are
these animals instead of the human minds set. This is because animals they dont have the
mind set of human beings. Then after that BLM can starts the work without any hesitation.
So, BLM can earn their return yet the animals are able to live without causing the animals to
be extinction. At the same time, BLM can accountable to their investor and the Bureau too.
Actually there are no right or wrong, just the matter of ethical and unethical behaviour. It
depends on how BLM and Bureau looks on these issues and in what view point.


3.6 Question 6 - Should the loss of species produced by the drilling operations of
Questar be considered a problem of pollution or a problem of conversation? Can the
loss of species by evaluated as an external cost? Explain.
In my opinion, the loss of species in this case is both a problem of pollution and also a
problem of conversation.
First, we discuss the loss of species is cause of the problem of pollution. From the
case, we can see that the operation of Gas Drilling Company is becoming source of pollution
in term of land pollution, air pollution and also water pollution. The example for the land
pollution is by drilling the land it may cause damaged of the wildlife habitat. As we know,
wildlife may be live in anywhere or anyplace. So, by drilling the land it will seriously damage
the habitat of the wildlife. Besides that, the operational vehicle or truck traffic is a need for
human for their job. By that, when the vehicle move into the wildlife habitat, it will also
disturbing the life of the wildlife. In addition, the operational vehicle or truck traffic is a kind
of a heavy vehicle, so it will also damage the wildlife habitat or the environment over there.
The second pollution is air pollution. Normally the air pollution is come from the
operation of drilling rig and others. The gas is much like the air that contains variety of the
pure gases. The gas also can be considered as the toxic gases. Toxic can be defined as a gas
that containing or being poisonous material especially when capable of causing death or
serious debilitation. So, it may bring very harmful towards the wildlife indirectly through the
The next pollution is water pollution. The water pollution can cause by drilling
sediments. While the human are drilling, some of the toxic will combine with the water or it
will dive into the water. If the wildlife drinks the water that contains toxic, it may also cause
them sick, feeling unwell or even dead. It also happened indirectly harmful towards the
Next, here we discuss the problem of conversation. I think the government should be
stricter towards the rules. The government should strict towards the usage of land that used.
Since the land also mean to the grouse bird, deer and others wildlife species. The land also as
the habitat towards the wildlife, so government should be limited the usage of the land. So, it

can be balance between the human being and the wildlife. Beside, also can make sure the
wildlife species does not decrease.
In my opinion, based on this case, loss of species can be evaluated as external cost in
this case. This is because as we know the some of the wildlife that only left some little
amount around the world. Some of the wildlife is we still even never see, so we need to try
the best to protect them. The loss of species also consider as special cost because people need
to take a good care of them, provide a good habitat and also environment. So it can just be the
external cost in this case.


BLM Pinedale Opens Scoping for Big Mesa Project. (2015). Pinedale, WY. Retrieved 1 May
2015, from
Habitat Conservation Plan-Overview. (2013). USA. Retrieved 1 May 2015, from
Habitat Conservation Plan. (2013). Merrilville, Indiana. Retrieved 1 May 2015, from
Quester, The Pinedale Anticline: A Short of Responsible Development of a Major Natural
Gas Resource, proposal available on Questar web site.