Casper Star-Tribune: BLM, industry should heed pollution warnings

Two significant signs of air pollution in southwest Wyoming are a call to action for the Bureau of Land Management and the energy industry.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s regional administrator, Robert E. Roberts, notified the BLM on Feb. 14 that a plan to allow nearly 4,400 new natural gas wells on the Pinedale Anticline needs to be revised. He cited increased ozone levels in recent years due to drilling activity, as well as other air quality concerns and groundwater contamination, as the reasons the EPA lowered its rating of the plan to “environmentally unsatisfactory.”

Last week, the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality issued an unprecedented air pollution advisory for the Pinedale area due to high ozone levels. In 1995, tests indicated that the area had some of the cleanest air in the country. Now, the sparsely populated area is the subject of warnings typically associated with smog-ridden metropolitan areas.

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