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Agency needs to protect the residents of the Upper Green River Valley

By Bruce Pendery


THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT IS ASKING FOR PUBLIC COMMENT on a proposed 3,500-well natural gas field south of Pinedale.

The Wyoming Outdoor Council is submitting detailed comments on this proposal, and we encourage your individual participation, as well.

This new project, designed and proposed by Encana, is called, officially, the “Normally Pressured Lance” natural gas field. Some people refer to it as the “Son of Jonah.”

Since Encana has leased the area in question, this proposed new industrial zone would be huge—it would dwarf the existing Jonah Field by more than doubling the number of wells drilled and more than quadrupling the amount of land included in the project area.

It would effectively expand the Jonah Field outward into an additional 140,000 acres of undeveloped country, currently home to good hunting areas, mule deer habitat, sage-grouse core areas, pronghorn and mule deer migration routes, as well as an elk herd.

The current Jonah Field is approximately 30,500 acres.

We encourage members of the public to ask the BLM to do everything in its power to protect the health of Upper Green River Valley residents, including Pinedale residents, before permitting new large-scale projects such as this proposed development.

First Things First: Pinedale-area Air Pollution is Dangerous and Must Be Addressed

Given the ongoing and unhealthy wintertime air pollution that is already threatening the people of Sublette County, it is an open question as to whether the Bureau of Land Management should be permitting new drilling of this kind until the agency can be sure the residents are being protected from the activities that are already underway.

The Pinedale area saw dangerous spikes in ozone pollution on several days again this past winter.

Ozone is an invisible air pollutant that, at the concentrations that have been recorded around Pinedale and Boulder, can cause permanent and irreversible damage to human lungs.

Ozone pollution is especially harmful to children and those with respiratory conditions.

Some of the spikes that were documented this winter were far higher even than anything that has been recorded in Los Angeles in the previous year, even on its worst days.

The source for this pollution is the existing and already ongoing, large-scale oil and gas drilling in the Pinedale area, which includes the enormous Jonah, Pinedale Anticline, and LaBarge fields.

Please let the Bureau of Land Management know that you want the people of Pinedale protected from dangerous air pollution.

The Wyoming Outdoor Council believes that the BLM cannot continue to permit these large-scale industrial activities in Sublette County—which are the overwhelming cause of the existing air pollution problems—until Pinedale-area residents can breathe healthy air again throughout the year.

Please tell the BLM that you believe it is incumbent on the agency to work with the state and energy companies to secure reductions in emissions of volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides—from the existing Pinedale-area energy development activities—before it can permit new projects.

But not only must reductions in emissions be achieved, the reductions must be shown to be sufficient to prevent future violations of the ozone standard.

Emissions reductions that do not prevent future violations are not enough.

How to comment

The Bureau of Land Management is accepting comments until close-of-business on May 12, 2011.

You can mail or deliver written comments to Kellie Roadifer, Pinedale Field Office, 1625 W. Pine Street, P.O. Box 768, Pinedale, WY 82941.

For most people, the easiest way to submit comments will be via email at: NPL_EIS_WY@blm.gov

Media Contact: Bruce Pendery, program director, Wyoming Outdoor Council, bruce@wyomingoutdoorcouncil.org; 435-752-2111

West Edge