Wyoming's Ozone Problem: What it Means For Us, and How You Can Help | American Lung Association

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Wyoming's Ozone Problem: What it Means For Us, and How You Can Help

(January 28, 2015)

For more information please contact:

Carrie Nyssen

Wyoming evokes images of wide-open skies and wild landscapes – not air pollution and smog – but uncontrolled emissions from oil and gas development threaten to change that.  The American Lung Association of the Mountain Pacific is engaging in Wyoming to help ensure an effective solution that protects public health.    

Here is a summary of what we’re up to and how you can help.          

1.  The Upper Green River Basin is facing a serious winter ozone problem from expanded oil and gas development.  Your help is needed to ensure final passage of an effective regulatory solution.    

  • The Upper Green River Basin (Sublette, Lincoln, and Sweetwater Counties) does not meet national health-based air quality standards for ozone pollution.  Wyoming is trying to turn things around and protect the health of local citizens through cost effective, common sense controls on existing oil and gas operations, which comprise the largest sources of ozone-forming pollutants in the region.

  • Wyoming’s Air Quality Advisory Board in early December approved the proposed regulations, which will be taken up by the State’s Environmental Quality Council in early spring.  The proposal represents a great starting point, but further improvements are needed to strengthen public health protections. 

2.  A proliferation of oil and gas development throughout the State of Wyoming, along with the federal proposal to tighten national ozone standards, calls for statewide action so all Wyoming residents have healthy air to breathe.

  • Every Wyoming county except Teton reported some oil and gas production in 2014.  At the same time, the science overwhelmingly shows that ozone is much more harmful – and at lower levels – than once thought.  For this reason, the EPA is moving ahead to lower the national health-based ozone standard, which will mean more of Wyoming can expect to exceed health-based standards for ozone pollution. 

  • To ensure that all Wyoming residents have healthy air to breathe, now is the time to develop cost effective, common sense air protections on a statewide basis.  The proposal for the Upper Green River Basin provides an effective model.

You Can Help In Two Very Important Ways:

  1. Help ensure adoption of a final rule for the Upper Green River Basin that best protects public health from dangerous ozone pollution; and
  2. Show your support for statewide action to reduce harmful air pollutants from oil and gas operations. 

To learn more about the issue and the specific actions you can take to influence air quality in the Upper Green River Basin and across Wyoming (including letters to the editor and letters to decision makers), please contact Ronni Flannery, Healthy Air Director, at 406-214-5700, or rflannery@lungmtpacific.org. 

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