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Natural Resources & Energy

Effort To Curb Pinedale Ozone Moves Forward

Dustin Bleizeffer/WyoFile
Deer and antelope mingle in the Pinedale Anticline natural gas field.

The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality has proposed new rules for controlling emissions from oil and gas operations in the Upper Green River Basin, and they're getting push-back from all sides.

The area around Pinedale is out of compliance with federal air quality standards for ozone, a harmful pollutant, because of nearby gas fields. Half a dozen groups have submitted written comments on the proposed rules for cutting emissions from existing oil and gas sites.

The Environmental Defense Fund and the Wyoming Outdoor Council are asking DEQ to do more monitoring of small emissions sources, which make up a majority of total emissions in the Basin, and to include compressor stations in the rule.

Jon Goldstein, with the Environmental Defense Fund, says the strength of the DEQ’s rules is significant, and not just for the Pinedale area.

“It’s really going to be a good precedent for making sure that this problem doesn’t spread to other parts of the state where they’re seeing drilling now,” Goldstein says.

In written comments to the department, the Petroleum Association of Wyoming says it applauds the efforts, but that the proposal doesn’t provide enough information about the cost of compliance and the emissions reductions that would be achieved. They also say a proposed January 2016 deadline for implementing the rules is too soon, and ask for a three-year phase-in.

The DEQ is holding a public hearing on the proposed rules Thursday, July 31 at 9am. 

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