Business Ethicsu06d2 Case Analysis: Gas or Grouse
In preparation for this discussion:
* Read "Gas or Grouse" on pages 254-257 in the course textbook.
* View "To Drill or Not to Drill" (6:13), segment five on the ABC News Videos for Business Ethics CD-ROM.
After you have read the case and viewed the video segment:
* Discuss the actions of Questar and the outcome of the resulting litigation from an ethical perspective, bearing in mind the heavy dependence of the United States on oil, and the effect of the current oil shortage on the country's economy.
The energy company Questar, is known for supplying a natural gas that burns cleaner than others because of the molecular structure it possess. This supply of natural gas allows the United States to be less contingent on foreign companies for energy supplies and provides royalties for the state of Wyoming. Questar drills and operates in close proximity to wildlife habitats that rely on the mesa, sagebrush and high elevation for survival. The Bureau of Land Management has specific limitations based on the habitat surrounding the drilling sites that Questar must follow to protect the wildlife. Studies were conducted that indicated that the restrictions were not sufficient enough to address the decline in the sage grouse; although Questar have followed the guidelines set forth by the Bureau of Land Management. The sage grouse are being considered for the endangered species list as it is believed to have a population of only 250,000 remaining. The argument that Questar presents is that the federal land was needed for the United States for drilling and mining.
To reduce the impact of operations that would affect wildlife, Questar executives prepared a plan to invest in new technology. They petitioned for permits that would allow them to drill for the entire year at a single pad instead of closing down for the winter months. The approval of the permits was given for five years by the Bureau of Land Management, but...