Air Quality Advisory Board votes to adopt DEQ’s proposed changes to air quality standards for ozone
Industry representatives, environmental groups, organizations and interested public attended the ozone discussion meeting in Pinedale.
Working to reduce ozone emissions in the Upper Green River Basin
by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online!
December 10, 2014
The Wyoming Air Quality Advisory Board met in Pinedale on Wednesday, December 10th in the Lovatt Room of the Pinedale Library. The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Air Quality Division (AQD) has been requesting the Board’s consideration on proposed changes to Wyoming Air Quality Standards and Regulations (WAQSR), Chapter 8, Nonattainment Area Regulations. DEQ has spent many months meeting with industry representatives, environmental groups, government officials and holding multiple public meetings to get input on the proposed changes. DEQ held an open house on Tuesday evening at the Library to give the public an additional opportunity to meet with officials and ask questions.
The public had another opportunity to give comments to the Advisory Board after a presentation by Wyoming DEQ representatives. Industry representatives said they are already doing a lot of the things that meet the new standards. They had some suggestions for clarification to the wording and practical considerations of implementation, but everyone who spoke during the public comment period was in favor of the board moving forward with the rule making without any further delay.
After three hours hearing reports from Wyoming DEQ representatives and then giving an opportunity for public comments, the board voted to adopt the proposed changes as presented by DEQ.
Industry representatives who gave comment were from the Petroleum Association of Wyoming, Jonah Energy, Andarko Petroleum Corporation, QEP, and Williams Field Services. Environmental groups and organizations giving public comment were from the Environmental Defense Fund, Wyoming Outdoor Council, Citizens for Responsible Energy Development (CURED), American Lung Association, and Sweetwater County. Several private citizens also made comments in support of moving the process forward.
The winter ozone season for the Upper Green River Basin goes for the three winter months of January, February and March. Wyoming DEQ is trying to implement a foundation to bring the area back into compliance with EPA ozone standards. During the 2015 winter season they will be issuing daily ozone forecasts. If they foresee a chance for elevated ozone levels on any given day, they will give an alert of an ozone action day and request that everyone take measures to reduce activity that creates ozone-causing emissions. Thirty-two industry companies have created and submitted Ozone Action Plans to DEQ. Air quality monitoring stations have been set up around the basin to gather atmospheric data during the winter season to further study what is causing the winter ozone situation.
Additional information about the status of winter ozone in Sublette County is available online from the following DEQ website: www.winterozone.org and they can subscribe to updates.
To view the proposed rules, go to the Wyoming DEQ website and click on "Proposed Rules" under "Air Quality Program Links" (proposed rules). http://deq.state.wy.us/aqd/proposedrules.asp