Albany County Commissioners Now Taking Comments For New Aquifer Protection Regulations

The Back Story

In the summer of 2019, Albany County withdrew its injunction against reactivation of the Tumbleweed gas station in the Casper Aquifer Protection Zone, claiming that enforcement could not proceed due to inadequate aquifer protection regulations.

The process of creating stronger regulations initially was assigned to the Albany County Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z). Its first draft received a torrent of negative public comment. Subsequently, P&Z made a second draft, but then the process stalled out.

What’s Happening Now

The 2020 election changed the dynamic on the Albany County Commission, which has final regulatory authority. To re-start the process of enacting stronger regulations, the Albany County Commissioners have issued P&Z’s second draft of regulatory changes (dated July 2020) for public comment and hearing.

Comments may be provided at any time during the currently-open comment period leading up to the hearing on Tuesday, May 4, at 9:30 am, which can be attended in person or by zoom.

ACWA strongly encourages members of the public to take this opportunity to strengthen the aquifer protection regulations. Comments sent in before the hearing will give the County Commissioners plenty of time to consider concepts and language. Although they cannot make final revisions on the day of the hearing, the more ideas they have to move forward with, the better.

IMPORTANT NOTE: THE PROPOSAL NOW OUT FOR COMMENT (link below) DOES NOT REFLECT THE INPUT PROVIDED BY ACCWA, which was for the most part ignored. Nor do these changes necessarily reflect the views of the current Albany County Commissioners, who have simply put them out for public comment without yet having any discussion among themselves.

While looking at the proposed revisions can be useful, ACCWA encourages commenters not to restrict themselves to the draft, but rather to state plainly what you would like to see in a final version (even if only conceptually).

For example, one might say, “I want to keep our drinking water as clean as possible even if it’s legal to pollute it” or “I don’t want to allow truck stops in the aquifer protection zone.”

The “redlined” version of the proposed changes now available for public comment (this version shows the changes in the context of the regulations currently on the books) can be found here. General or specific comments can be made on the County Commissioners’ contact page.

To stay informed as this process moves forward, including ACCWA recommendations for comments, please email [email protected] to be added to the alert list!


  1. Bonnie Senger Karberg

    This is what I sent to the Commisioners today:

    The Casper Aquifer – it is the only clean drinking, etc. water that I have. There are no other options for those that really solely on the Aquifer.
    I can live with seeing windmills. I can live with seeing solar panels. I can live with the widening of US 287 to 4 lanes. But we can’t live without unadulterated water.
    Too many times a new development is allowed – with septic and wells. And are the septic systems regulated? Who is watching what is going into the Aquifer?
    Do what you must to protect the Aquifer – there is no replacement.
    We do not have the luxury of large bodies of lakes that we can draw from. Let us assume with climate change, climate refugees will be moving to higher elevations. Will we get some here? Will we have clean water for new arrivals if the Aquifer has been compromised?
    In 2010, The United Nations General Assembly recognized access to clean water as a human right alongside other fundamental rights, such as life and liberty, freedom of expression, and education.
    Even the World Health Organization recognizes water poverty in the U.S. and around the world. Do we want to become part of the numbers that already exceeds 2 million people that do not have access to safe drinking water in the United States?
    In the age of COVID-19 – there are those that want freedom over following health guidelines that protect the rest of us. I want that same freedom to have a clean Aquifer.

    • Sarah

      Thank you so much for your support, Bonnie! Your comments will help let the county commissioners know how much their constituents care about their drinking water.

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