Pinedale

Miles Bryan

If you move to Wyoming to work in oil or gas you probably know to expect long hours and a big paycheck. You might even know to expect to be sleeping in your car. Housing is a perennial issue in boomtowns, one that pits the needs of energy workers against the interests of long term residents and there’s no easy fix. 

Melodie Edwards

Last week, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell was in Pinedale, taking part in a ceremony to sign up Wyoming ranchers to help protect sage grouse. These conservation agreements are called Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances or CCAA’s. They’re supposed to protect the birds on private lands, but as Wyoming Public Radio’s Melodie Edwards reports, some wildlife advocates question whether the program really has the teeth to make a difference.

Dustin Bleizeffer/WyoFile

Every day, more than 2 billion gallons of water are produced in the U.S. by the oil and gas industry. The water comes up with the oil and gas, and can contain hydrocarbons like benzene and toluene as well as the chemicals that are injected into the well to produce the oil and gas. But the federal government doesn’t treat waste from the energy industry as hazardous, and much of that polluted wastewater is allowed to simply evaporate. That, as others have reported, could could be a problem.

Terry Allen

The Meet-and-Greet is a WPR tradition that takes the General Manger out of the office and into Wyoming’s cities and towns to meet with listeners and hear their thoughts. Often other WPR staff members traveling through the state on assignments join in the fun and add to the conversation.

gosarforgovernor.com

The Democratic Candidate for Governor is Pete Gosar. Gosar is a Pinedale native who is the former chairman of the state democratic party and he currently serves on the state board of education.

He is a state pilot, a former school teacher, and in college he was a star defensive player for the Wyoming Cowboys. Gosar has been critical of Governor Mead’s leadership when it comes to issues like Medicaid expansion and has accused Mead of playing politics with his decisions. He joins us to discuss some issues.

Dustin Bleizeffer/WyoFile

The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality has proposed new rules for controlling emissions from oil and gas operations in the Upper Green River Basin, and they're getting push-back from all sides.

The area around Pinedale is out of compliance with federal air quality standards for ozone, a harmful pollutant, because of nearby gas fields. Half a dozen groups have submitted written comments on the proposed rules for cutting emissions from existing oil and gas sites.

The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality is drafting rules to curb emissions near Pinedale, but the agency says there are some limitations to what they’ll be able to do.

The Pinedale area violates federal air quality standards because of pollution from natural gas development. DEQ has already imposed stricter rules on new energy equipment, and now they plan to limit emissions from older, grandfathered facilities, as well. But spokesman Keith Guille says they aren't able to regulate everything.

Several remote communities in the state will be able to receive better internet service in the near future.  Visionary Communications has announced a plan to expand its fiber optic line to connect the towns of Chugwater, Guernsey, Pinedale and Torrington to the rest of the state. 

Willow Belden

Several years ago, there were days when air pollution in Pinedale was worse than in Los Angeles. Residents complained of respiratory problems, and visits to local medical clinics increased.  In 2012, the Environmental Protection Agency said the area was violating federal air quality standards, and gave Wyoming three years to fix the problem. Since then, air quality has been better. But as Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden reports, nobody knows whether the problem is really fixed, and some worry that the state is not doing enough to prevent similar problems from happening elsewhere.

Dustin Bleizeffer/WyoFile

Energy companies operating near Pinedale will soon have to retrofit their older equipment to curb emissions.

Natural gas development in the Pinedale Anticline gas field has caused air pollution, to the extent that the area violates federal air quality standards. The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality has already imposed limits on emissions from new equipment. But until now, older equipment that was already in place was exempt from those standards. DEQ Air Quality Administrator Steve Dietrich says that needs to change.

Bill and Martha Saunders are long-time Jackson residents. The couple was instrumental in founding the Jackson Hole Ski Club, and their family was also central in Wyoming's rodeo scene. Bill and Martha share memories of their rodeo experiences, including Martha's tour with the Singing Cowboy, Gene Autry.

Willow Belden

We’ve reported often on the effects that energy production can have on air quality. The most obvious example is Pinedale, where federal ambient air quality standards were violated, largely because of emissions from natural gas production. Regulators say the air elsewhere in the state is fine. But some worry that Wyoming doesn’t have a sufficient monitoring network to know for sure. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden reports.

A new Bureau of Land Management report indicates that most of the groundwater contamination near Pinedale was not caused by the energy industry.

After petroleum products showed up in water wells in the Pinedale Anticline gas field in 2006, several agencies launched an investigation to figure out where the contamination was coming from. They concluded that some pollution occurred naturally, as gas seeped upward through geologic layers and into the groundwater. The report says other pollutants came from the process of drilling and installing water wells.

Conservationists are relieved that migrating animals are using the recently-built overpasses on U-S Highway 191 near Pinedale. The highway cuts across major wildlife migration routes, and vehicle collisions with animals have been a problem in the area for years.

The Wyoming Department of Transportation finished six underpasses and two overpasses for the wildlife last year, inspired by similar structures in Banff National Park. They were the first ever built for pronghorn antelope, which can't jump roadside fences, and they avoid enclosed spaces. 

Mobile lab could help solve air quality questions

Sep 30, 2013
Willow Belden

Atmospheric Scientists at the University of Wyoming will soon have access to a mobile laboratory that will help them conduct advanced research into ozone pollution and other air quality issues.

Rob Field is a researcher in the Atmospheric Science Department. He says only a handful of universities have equipment this sophisticated.

StoryCorps

This summer, StoryCorps set up a booth in Cheyenne to record Wyomingites interviewing one another and sharing their stories.

Today, we’ll hear from 95-year old Pinedale native Guy Decker, better known as “Bud”. Decker tells his longtime-friend Jim Latta about what it was like to grow up on the Wyoming Frontier.

Produced by Rebecca Martinez with interviews recorded at StoryCorps, a na­tional nonprofit whose mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives. (storycorps.org.)

Pronghorn & Fremont Lake - Pinedale

Jun 25, 2013
Zachary Wheeler

The drive to Pinedale from US-HWY 189 or US HWY 191 is along one of the greatest migrations in North America.  Each fall and spring, 300-400 Pronghorn migrate 170 miles from their summer birthing grounds in Grand Teton National Park to their winter grounds in Pinedale, Wyoming.  This great migration, named by biologists as the “Path of the Pronghorn” is remarkable and one of the last long-distance animal migrations in the world.

Green River Rendezvous – Pinedale

Jun 11, 2013
Dawn Ballou

Pinedale’s oldest and longest standing cultural event is held annually the second weekend in July and is enjoyed by visitors and locals alike.  Vendor Street Fair, Museum of the Mountain Man specialty tours and demonstrations, Kids’ Fishing Derby, “Spirit of the Winds” Fireworks Show, 3-on-3 Rendezvous Basketball Tournament, Rendezvous Parade, nightly rodeos, live music, and Native American Dance performances makes this Pinedale’s biggest summer event.

Museum of the Mountain Man - Pinedale

Jun 6, 2013
Dawn Ballou

During the years 1824-1840, the Pinedale region was at the heart of the Rocky Mountain Fur Trade, which supplied precious beaver pelts to the fashion industries of Europe and the eastern United States. Mountain men like Jim Bridger, Kit Carson, Thomas Fitzpatrick and William Sublette carved their legends here, and opened the way for the pioneers of the Oregon Trail. The Museum of the Mountain Man shares a comprehensive collection of Rocky Mountain fur trade journals, relics such as Jim Bridger’s Rifle and the finest Native American sheep horn bow still in existence. 

Pinedale Fine Arts Council - Pinedale

Jun 1, 2013
Pinedale Fine Arts Council

The Pinedale Fine Arts Council, a community based non-profit 501(c)3 corporation serving Sublette County (WY), has provided high-quality performing arts events, visual and literary arts programs and artist residencies since 1976. Largely through volunteer efforts and consistent community support, PFAC helps connect a dynamically growing corner of Wyoming to the rest of the world.

Pinedale singer-songwriter Jared Rogerson has been influenced as a musician from 17 years of bronc’ riding in rodeos. He’s also explored thousands of miles in the remote Wyoming backcountry as a brucellosis biologist for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. His new album, Dirt, was released April 17.

Sublette County violates federal air quality standards, because of high levels of ozone, or smog. The ozone forms when emissions from oil and gas development mix together, under certain weather conditions. The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality is responsible for fixing the problem, but there are a lot of unknowns about how ozone forms. Now, researchers at the University of Wyoming are trying to find some answers. We’re joined now by Rob Field. He’s an atmospheric scientist, and he’s been monitoring air quality in Sublette County for several years. to find some answers.

Courtesy of Pinedale Online

Tomorrow, the Department of Environmental Quality will announce how it plans to fix air quality problems near Pinedale.

Emissions from oil and gas development in Sublette County have caused ozone, or smog, to form at levels that exceed federal limits. Last year, a community task force recommended possible solutions. They called for tougher regulations on industry and more rigorous air quality monitoring, among other things.

The new director of the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality says he’s not sure what his agency will do long-term, to address groundwater contamination in Pavillion.

The EPA tentatively linked the contamination to fracking, but the state and energy industries questioned the science behind their study, so they collected a new set of data and are now analyzing it.

DEQ Director Todd Parfitt wouldn’t say what he’ll do if the results confirm that fracking caused the contamination.

A task force in Pinedale has come up with a list of recommendations for how to fix air quality problems in Sublette County.

The area violates federal air quality standards because oil and gas production have led to high levels of ozone, or smog, in recent years. So at the suggestion of Gov. Matt Mead, a group of citizens, industry reps and local leaders got together to come up with a solution.

Firefighters are making progress against a 400-acre wildfire threating 13 homes in western Wyoming.
 
The fire was 20 percent contained Wednesday. It ignited Sunday 30 miles west of Pinedale and has prompted some evacuation orders.
 
No buildings have been reported lost. The cause remains under investigation.

Courtesy of Pinedale Online

Pinedale, Wyoming has been selected by an organization as one of the nation’s 100 best communities for young people. 

America’s Promise Alliance recognizes local community programs and initiatives that are aimed at supporting youth.  Pinedale was recognized for having safe places for youth, for its youth fitness and recreation programs, overall improvements in education and for its adult volunteer program.  

Teacher Jasper Warembourg has been in the community for 20 years and he says the adult input is amazing.

Dustin Bleizeffer/WyoFile

The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality says oil and gas companies in the Pinedale area are improving efforts to curb emissions on high ozone days.

The area is not in compliance with federal Clean Air Act standards, and the DEQ held a public meeting Tuesday, to brief residents on its efforts to combat the high ozone levels.