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Coalbed methane is one of the most important and valuable natural resources in the Western United States. The natural gas that results from CBM development is the cleanest burning fossil fuel, and the extensive domestic supply makes it a central element of the national goal of a secure supply of energy. Demand for natural gas will continue to grow and CBM will play an increasingly larger role in meeting that demand. CBM production has expanded tremendously over the past decade, and the rapidity with which development has expanded has resulted in stresses and tension in affected communities. Development of this important energy resource must be balanced with a number of other important goals of protecting water,...