Gas or Grouse

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Gas and Grouse


The objective of this case study is to investigate the various systemic, corporate and ethical issues behind Questar Corporation’s drilling operations on the Pinedale Mesa. Besides that, this case study is conducted to determine the value of wildlife species and its balance against the economic interests of Questar Corporation.

Furthermore, it is also to determine whether Questar is morally obligated to cease its operations on the mesa and whether the environmentalists have behaved ethically in this issue.

Case Summary

The Pinedale Mesa extends north and south of eastern side of Wyoming’s Green River Basin, an area that is famous as the gateway to hunting, fishing and hiking. It is surrounded by hundreds of recently drilled wells owned by Questar Corporation, an energy company.

The company’s expanding operations are intruding in the wildlife habitat on top of the mesa. However, the natural gas drilled by Questar Corporation is a desperately needed resource that provides the nation with clean and cheap source of energy as natural gas burns more cleanly than coal, diesel, oil or gasoline. It also reduces US’s reliance on foreign supplies and the drilling brings job opportunities, increased tax revenues and creates a booming economy for Wyoming.

To protect large areas of the mesa which are habitats for muledeer, pronghorn sheep, sage grouse, and other species, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has imposed several restrictions and drilling rules to protect them specifically the sage grouse. The sage grouse is a colourful bird that is dependent on rare old-growth sagebrush for food and is extremely sensitive to human activity. Its numbers are increasingly dwindling.

The mesa is also a migration area used by muledeer, moose and pronghorn antelope. Environmentalists fear that the drilling interferes with the migration route or turn the winter ranges inhospitable for the species. Therefore, all...
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