All CATEGORIES
☰ Menu
Ohio Utica Shale

EDF: Concerned about Wyoming air under BLM plans

By Bob Downing Published: March 8, 2013

From the Enviro0nmental defense Fund:

By: Jon Goldstein, Senior Energy Policy Manager

Wyoming is already one of the country’s top natural gas producers. And large new developments under review by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management totaling more than 25,000 new wells in the coming years could further solidify Wyoming's status as a national energy leader.

But what will this leadership look like? Will this series of development projects lead to worsening air quality or set an example for safe, responsible development?U.S. Bureau of Land Management totaling more than 25,000 new wells in the coming years could further solidify Wyoming's status as a national energy leader.

The first of these, the Continental Divide – Creston Project, is alone one of the largest onshore natural gas developments ever proposed on federal lands in the United States. This enormous development slated for the Wamsutter area of south-central Wyoming, includes drilling nearly 9,000 new natural gas wells across 1,672 square miles (or 1.1 million acres) of public and private lands — an area a bit larger than the state of Rhode Island. The well-known Jonah Field in western Wyoming, by comparison, covers about 21,000 acres and includes about 3,500 wells.

The scale, concentration and vicinity of new wells proposed by the CD-C project are fueling concern for regional air quality issues. If managed improperly, this project could lead to more unhealthy air for local residents and workers.

Unhealthy air, as a result of oil and gas development, has been a particular issue in Pinedale, a community just northwest of the CD-C proposal in Wyoming’s Upper Green River Basin. The past few winters have earned the area unwanted national attention for its U.S. Environmental Protection Agency nonattainment designation for ground-level ozone pollution – one of the first non-urban areas to report such high levels of smog.

Leaks from equipment and other sources of emissions in the nearby oil and gas fields have created California-style smog in rural Wyoming. In recent years, ozone levels in Pinedale (population: around 1400) have at times been higher than the smoggiest days in Los Angeles or Houston.

This is one reason why groups like EDF and the Wyoming Outdoor Council are working with state and federal regulators on commonsense measures to improve regional air quality.

EDF and other groups have submitted comments for the draft environmental impact statement to ensure that BLM fully understands the air quality implications of the CD-C project and that the final proposal contains some of the strongest air emission controls anywhere. Meanwhile in Pinedale, EDF and WOC are advocating for the state to act swiftly on a series of strong actions agreed to by local citizens, industry and environmental groups alike and that are designed to improve the unhealthy air already plaguing the area.

It’s a two-way street. The CD-C project’s proximity to the nonattainment area underlines the need for strong emission controls on any new wells. At the same time, the plans for so many new emissions sources right next door to the Upper Green River Basin make fast action there imperative.

Wyoming has historically been a leader on air quality issues and a national model for holding the oil and gas industry to a high standard. That reputation — and even more importantly, the health of local citizens — is what's at stake here as these new large-scale developments come to Wyoming.

 

 


 

Print
Add This

SUBSCRIBE VIA RSS

OHIO.COM VIDEOS

See the most recent drilling report and an injection wells map From NewsOutlet.org
Prev Next

Utica and Marcellus shale web sites

Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management State agency Web site.

ODNR Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management. State drilling permits. List is updated weekly.

ODNR Division of Geological Survey.

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Ohio State University Extension.

Ohio Farm Bureau.

Ohio Oil and Gas Association, a Granville-based group that represents 1,500 Ohio energy-related companies.

Ohio Oil & Gas Energy Education Program.

Energy In Depth, a trade group.

Marcellus and Utica Shale Resource Center by Ohio law firm Bricker & Eckler.

Utica Shale, a compilation of Utica shale activities.

Landman Report Card, a site that looks at companies involved in gas and oil leases.FracFocus, a compilation of chemicals used in fracking individual wells as reported voluntarily by some drillers.

Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.

Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.

Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.

National Geographic's The Great Shale Rush.

The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.

Buckeye Forest Council.

Earthjustice, a national eco-group.

Stop Fracking Ohio.

People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.

Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.

No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.

Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.

Penn State Marcellus Center.

Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.

Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.