EPA Mandates Air-Quality Study by BLM

Laramie, WY – A Wyoming environmental group hopes that a recent air-quality study mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency in northwest Colorado will be repeated here.

Last week the EPA demanded that the Bureau of Land Management do an in-depth air quality study before finalizing its resource managment plan for the Vermillion Basin. That plan currently would allow three thousand oil and gas wells to be drilled there.

Wyoming has five resource management plans in development right now. The EPA's Larry Svoboda says it's tough to compare the Vermillion Basin plan to those here.

Svoboda says some Wyoming plans reach 15 years into the future and they don't have the detail needed for an in-depth air quality study.

"That's sometimes why resource management plans do not address air quality in the same level of detail that you would look at air quality for a very specific proposal with a known number of wells with specific locations," Svobeda said.

A spokesman for the Wyoming Outdoor Council, Bruce Pendery, says he's not asking for exact air quality measurements. But he wants something like the Colorado study, which could give a prediction of how many hazy days people should expect when development goes ahead.