More Ozone progress
Responses from BLM, DEQ and Questar
by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online!
Original Post April 10, 2008 | Updated April 12, 2008
We’ve heard back from several other people in response to our questions about the recent Ozone advisories.
Bureau of Land Management (BLM): Several weeks ago we asked the BLM if they plan to have any kind of a public meeting to allow questions and answers about the ozone concerns from the natural gas drilling activity in Sublette County. Caleb Hiner, with the Pinedale Field Office, told us today, Thursday, that the BLM is in the process of making contacts with Wyoming DEQ and trying to get a meeting arranged with the public. (Editor’s note: We aren’t certain if this meeting will be combined with the April 21 public meeting the DEQ has scheduled at Rendezvous Pointe in Pinedale or will be a separate meeting.)
Industry responds: We got a call from Questar inviting us to meet with them later this month to talk about the ozone air pollution situation. They will have representatives on hand who can explain what the company is doing in response to this situation. That meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, April 22nd (4/12/08 Editor's Note: The date has been changed from Wednesday April 23.)
Wyoming DEQ: WYDEQ Air Quality Director Dave Finley replied to us in response to our public comment on recent public notices of permit applications for modifications of emissions for existing sources in Sublette County that were advertised in the legal notices of the Pinedale Roundup. We requested DEQ hold a public hearing on these applications due to recent concerns over ozone exceedences and health advisories. He wrote back today, “…we've received several requests for a public hearing on similar permit applications submitted by Ultra Petroleum, and will be scheduling a hearing on those in the near future. I have forwarded your request for hearings on the three applications described below to Chad Schlichtemeier, our New Source Review permits manager, and we'll be getting back with you on our plans for those applications.”
(Editor's Note: We gave public comment on applications by BP America Production Company Stud Horse Butte 16-15, BP America Production Company Stud Horse Butte 9-14, and EnCana Oil & Gas (USA) Stud Horse Butte 13-35, which were advertised as DEQ public notices in the April 3, 2008 edition of the Pinedale Roundup. Basically we objected to DEQ approval of any applications which involved modifications to these sites that would increase VOC emissions from the current levels. We requested DEQ require assurance from the companies that air pollution emissions either remain the same or be decreased at these sites before these applications are approved.)
On a different topic, Wyoming DEQ officials still have not answered our question from several weeks ago in which we posed a hypothetical scenario of activity in the Pinedale Anticline and the Jonah Field under private ownership instead of federal land management. The gist of our question was, ‘Would DEQ be able to respond differently and have more regulatory clout to effect changes to the way things are being done if this was being done on private land owned and managed by a single private company?” We asked if the landowner company could be held solely responsible for all the operations being done on their land, what things could DEQ do in response to the ozone air pollution exceeding allowed levels, in what time frames they would require changes and compliance, and what would be the penalties if that company didn't comply? Basically we want to know if the federal government is allowing themselves to be held to a different and looser standard for causing air pollution than private citizens with regards to application of the laws.