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Craig Jensen poses outside his home near the community of Boulder in southwest
Wyoming.

Small Town has Big Pollution Problem

May 12, 2008 06:00 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
by Lindsey Chapman
Boulder, Wyoming, population 75, has as much air pollution as some major metropolitan communities; natural gas development is primarily to blame.

30-Second Summary

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Sublette County, Wyoming, holds two of the most productive natural gas fields in the Rocky Mountains: the Jonah Field and the Pinedale Anticline.

The local community, Boulder, with just 75 residents, has air pollution rivaling that of a large city. Wyoming’s air quality has fallen below healthy levels almost a dozen times since January 2008, and natural gas development is the primary cause.

Meanwhile, the EPA has just tightened its air quality controls.

Conservationists claim that energy development in the area is going too fast. Of the rapid drilling, Dwayne Meadows of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership said, “Right now any calls for moderate development are deemed un-American, and when restrictions are proposed, the industry pouts and threatens to leave.”

The energy industry says that it’s working on the ozone problem and drilling doesn’t need to be curtailed.

In fact, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is currently reviewing a proposal to add another 4,000 wells to the Pindedale Anticline. The energy industry says the additional development would help them to extract the natural gas and restore the land more quickly instead of taking several additional years.

One Wyoming landowner stated that although he’s received helpful royalties from having gas wells on his land, he does miss cleaner skies and fewer people. “I’d give it up right now if all them rigs moved,” he stated.

The BLM will make its decision on whether to allow additional drilling on the Pinedale Anticline in June 2008.

Headline Link: Ozone pollution in Wyoming

Background: Tighter air controls

Related: More natural gas wells proposed for Wyoming

Reference: Ozone

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