Feds approve water rules for gas drillers

The federal government has approved strict new water-quality standards sought by Montana over fears that natural-gas drilling in neighboring Wyoming could pollute interstate rivers. Montana officials said Monday that the new rules would protect farmers from poor-quality water produced during exploration for coal-bed methane, a type of natural gas. But with a federal lawsuit over the issue still pending in Cheyenne, it was not immediately clear how far Montana could go in enforcing the standards. More than 20,000 coal-bed methane wells have been drilled in northern Wyoming over the past decade. The Associated Press