When the air in Wyoming gets smoggier than the air in Los Angeles, you know something has gone wrong.
That "something" is the oil and gas industry.
In the drilling rig-studded Upper Green River Basin of Wyoming, levels of smog-forming ozone reached 123 parts per billion earlier this year?worse than the worst day in Los Angeles all last year.
It?s not just the people of Wyoming who are noticing a problem. A controversial technology called hydraulic fracturing?or fracking?has led to a gas drilling boom from Colorado to Pennsylvania. But federal air pollution standards for drilling are woefully outdated and do not cover most pollution sources. That means that people who live near the gasfields are left with lung-burning smog and cancer-causing benzene.
But with your help, we can change that. Under a set of rules proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency, oil and gas drillers would be required to use equipment to capture significant amounts of air pollution before it can harm public health.
There?s more to be done, especially in the area of reducing drillers? emissions of the potent greenhouse gas methane. But it's an important and vital first step.
Some extreme members of Congress have been making it hard for the scientists at the EPA to do their job lately. That?s why the EPA needs to hear from you, to let them know that no matter what the anti-science extremists say, the public supports strong air quality protections.
TAKE ACTION TODAY: Make your voice heard! To submit your comment, enter your information below and click on the "Submit Comment" button.
IMPORTANT NOTE ON PRIVACY: This is an official U.S. Environmental Protection Agency request for comments. All comments submitted are part of the public record and may be posted to Regulations.gov (the web-based Federal rulemaking application). All personal identifying information (e.g., email, name, etc.) submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit confidential business information or otherwise sensitive or protected information. If you wish to submit an anonymous comment, the EPA will accept anonymous comments at Regulations.gov
Living the smoggy life is something folks in California and Houston are associated with. Now the same is true for those in Pinedale, Wyoming.
The small town in western Wyoming is often the subject of news this time of year as the state routinely declares ozone alerts because of the smog that hovers between the mountains and over the town.
Generally, the coverage of the small town?s large pollution problem surrounds the cause of the smog. Some take a literal approach, saying the cause is the mountains that surround Pinedale and cause the inversion that traps pollution there. Keith Guille of the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality told The New York Times, ?It?s like a pot, with all the mountain ranges around it, and the inversion is like a lid.? Others say that the infusion of people and dust-kicking trucks from the growing energy industry is partially to blame. And, oh yeah, there?s the growing energy industry in Pinedale where fracking, the controversial practice of injecting a mixture of toxic chemicals into the ground to get at natural gas, has greatly expanded over the last decade. These are all potential suspects, and everyone has their favorite one, but if people are okay with it, should outsiders really care?
Just like people don?t have to live in smoggy places like Los Angeles, Houston or Denver, no one has to live in Pinedale. But they do. And that?s what?s important. The most recent profile of Pinedale in the New York Times focused not on fracking, not on the growing population and not the mountains, but on those who love the Pinedale life. It?s not a bad life. I?ve been to Pinedale. It?s beautiful. Those who live there know that. No one forces anyone there to be there. It?s a choice.
Resident Dawn Mitchell told the Times, ?If poor air quality is what I have to live with, then that?s a choice I make.? Now, the cynics will say that smoking is a choice, and drinking is a choice. But ozone warnings a few days a year aren?t as drastic; at least as far as I know. Don?t get me wrong, I wouldn?t live in Pinedale. But people there probably wouldn?t live where I live. It?s not personal. It?s a choice.
Despite everything that is wrong with Washington, D.C. (and there?s plenty), I choose to live there. And despite the ozone warnings in Pinedale people live there. Both places have benefits and both have their negatives. I?m not going to judge Pinedale and I hope the folks from Pinedale don?t judge those who make the choice to live elsewhere.
So yes, the yearly coverage of Pinedale?s smog problem is interesting and probably worth some looking into when it comes the cause of the smog. But let?s be careful not to characterize the people as the problem or having problems for choosing to be there. People are people. Choices are choices and there?s good and bad in all of it. That?s what makes life so interesting, no matter where you choose to live it.
Well air pollution is not good but if you think Los Angles or Wyoming is bad, all I have to say is go to China. I go there, it's always thick, and there is nowhere you can go no matter how many thousands of miles to get away from it. Makes the worst day of Los Angles SMOG look like perfectly clean air.
I'd heard that from others too. China has taken some big steps but is in a delicate balancing game trying to continue growth while cutting pollutants. Until they give up their reliance on coal I can see that working.
I'll believe corporations are persons when Texas executes one.: LBJ's Ghost
Having grown up in Suthun Calismoggy in the 60s, 70s, 80s, I can attest to the smoggier zones to "live and breathe". The ONLY GOOD DAYS there are after it rains or when the Winds have blown out the goo, then the Mountains are visible from the Beaches.
Don't know about Wyoming other than I've travelled in a Tractor-Trailer, I-80 to/from SLC a few times in '08. Didn't notice any smog problems as there's not much on I-80 to distract from the BEAUTY.
I'll vote that L.A. smog is WORSE than anywhere, WY., however Oil and Natural Gas drilling will certainly and quickly enough muck up the area(s), yet unlikely to equal the dismalness of such areas as Lost Angels.
Smog is a natural (cough, gag, choke, puke) offshoot from the Industrial revolution just like Flouride is a byproduct in aluminum production.
USA Coal production (Mining) is slated to greatly decrease next year when the feds shut down MANY COAL BURNING FACILITIES because of the supposed harmful and cancer causing effects.
Also note the e.p.a. has developed stringent rules AGAINST burning wood in homes, so go figure.
Must be the smog these burnings produce.
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