WY Approves Strict Air Pollution Regs For Pinedale

May 19, 2015

The town of Pinedale has suffered from high ozone levels due to a combination of contributing factors like heavy winter snow, oil and gas development, and the surrounding mountains.
Credit Leigh Paterson / Inside Energy

On Tuesday, Wyoming's Environmental Quality Council approved a significant new rule that will regulate oil and gas emissions in the Upper Green River Basin, an area that has been plagued by air pollution. Inside Energy’s Leigh Paterson reports.


On particularly bad days years ago, smog was worse the town of Pinedale than in Los Angeles.  That led to the whole area, the Upper Green River Basin, being designated as a non-attainment zone, meaning its ozone levels exceeded federal limits. Wyoming's newly revised air quality standards aim to change that by regulating emissions from existing oil and gas development like activity at production facilities and compressor stations.  The state has previously only regulated emissions from new sources.  Chris Merrill of the Wyoming Outdoor Council says this new rule is a step in the right direction.

“It is going to protect the people who live and work in the Pinedale area. You know, they’ve waited a long time for this day, to get this pollution under control. The measures approved today will go a long way to accomplishing that goal and protecting public health,” Merrill said. 


But these new regulations apply only to the Upper Green River Basin.  Groups like the Wyoming Outdoor Council are pushing for the rule’s expansion to include other areas with energy development or perhaps even the entire state.