Groups: Ozone Action Strategy Contains Important Steps, But Further Action Will Be Needed

The Wyoming Outdoor Council and Environmental Defense Fund responded to the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality’s strategy to tackle persistent and severe air pollution from oil and gas operations in the Pinedale region expressing support for the plan but noting further efforts are needed. In particular, the groups noted that more action will be needed to improve local air quality as outlined in consensus recommendations from the Upper Green River Basin Ozone Task Force — a group that comprises government officials, representatives from the oil and gas industry, environmental and public health groups, and local area residents.

“I am pleased that the DEQ has maintained its pledge to continue forward on all of the task force’s recommendations,” said Bruce Pendery with the Wyoming Outdoor Council, who served on the task force. “These actions will help clean up the air in Pinedale and better protect local citizens. However, certain actions, including reducing pollution from drilling rigs and engines used in the oil and gas fields, are not included in the strategy and they should be going forward.”

Among the positive elements of DEQ’s strategy is a plan to immediately take strong air quality requirements already in place in a portion of the region – the Jonah- Pinedale Development Area – and to make them applicable across the nonattainment area.

“This was a proposal we brought to DEQ and we are very pleased to see it included in this strategy,” said Jon Goldstein, EDF senior energy policy manager. “Wyoming has a  history of leadership in regulating air emissions from the oil and gas sector, and the requirements already in place in the Jonah and Pinedale Anticline fields are a big piece of that. Expanding the requirements to install the best emissions controls available across the region makes sense and is good news. Questions remain about plans to reduce emissions in the medium to long term, but this strategy shows that DEQ is giving many of the nearer term actions the attention they deserve.”

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