Different avenues to understand
and alleviate the Upper Green River
Basin’s winter ozone converged at the Wyoming
Department of Environmental Quality’s
pre-winter ozone season public meeting in
Seventy or so people – residents, officials,
operators and staff – attended the two-hour
program and open house Nov. 18 at the Boulder
“Is anybody here from the (Bureau of Land
Management) – raise your hand?” retired BLM
archeologist Dave Vlcek asked later. No one
First, DEQ Air Quality Division Administrator
Nancy Vehr spoke, followed by AQD’s
Darla Potter and Wyoming Department of
Health’s Dr. Alexa Harrist.
Vehr recapped last spring’s ozone exceedances
in March at the DEQ’s Boulder air-quality
monitoring station, saying they occurred
with winds from the southwest.
Using a complex formula, the 2019 “design
value” for ozone was .072, compared to .058 in
2018 and .075 in 2017. The federal ozone standard
is 70 parts per billion for an eight-hour
Every five years, the Environmental Protection
Agency reviews and sometimes revises its
federal air quality standards, which could happen
in Spring 2020 with an opportunity for
public comments, Potter said.
While the DEQ hoped to hire a third fulltime
emissions inspector to check on Pinedale
Anticline, Jonah Energy, Pinedale Energy
Partners and other operators’ facilities, Vehr
said it will remain at two. Inspectors Stafford
Polk and Cindy Etcheverre now have an office
DEQ , industry working to pinpoint emissions
By Joy Ufford, [email protected]
Big Piney plows ahead with winter parking ordinance
behind the BLM’s Stromness Building.
However, Gov. Mark Gordon’s new budget
shows these will be funded by the state, she
said, instead of the Jonah and Anticline mitigation
funds that sunset June 30, 2020.
“I recommended three full-time positions,”
Vehr said. “But those two will be safe, funded
The DEQ will focus more on compliance
inspections and enforcement, she said, after
DEQ inspections January through March revealed
many leaks in operators’ facilities and
“The Upper Green River Basin ozone study
this year is more objectives based,” Potter said,
with more coverage than previous winters. The
AQD is working with operators to add monitoring
sensors in different locations, including
Jonah Energy and Pinedale Energy Partners’
installation of meteorological sensors.
As “a direct result of last winter,” she said,
the DEQ has a new “enhanced engine compliance
assurance” program with inspectors
checking cooperating operators’ stationary engines
with more than 100 horsepower monthly
for carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide emissions.
Later, DEQ’s Lars Lone said 3-minute spot
checks include compressors and generators and
for now only occur in the Upper Green River
Basin. Etcheverre said the goal is to make operators
aware of how well their engines run –
or not – and make sure they run properly.
When asked about adding in emissions
from 100 or so wells drilled in the past year,
Potter said the DEQ’s mandate is that emissions
cannot prevent attainment of the EPA’s
ozone standard. “Do you feel like we’re reducing
(emissions) at the same rate to keep us with
(new wells),” asked Carmel Kail.
Vehr replied, “Companies have to demonstrate
to the DEQ they won’t prevent
About 70 attend pre-winter
ozone meeting in Boulder
By Joy Ufford, [email protected]
attainment” and newly permitted engines that
might require one-time checks will now be
tested before and after a winter ozone season.
“We will hear that the industry has done a
lot of work to reduce further,” she said. “We’ll
have to see how this season turns out.”
Potter added, the DEQ will help replace
some Sublette County school buses to “lower
emissions emitted near our children” funded
by Volkswagen’s Clean Air Act civil settlement
“that we are really excited about.”
Underway are efforts for better communication
with Citizens United for Responsible
Energy Development (CURED), EPA and the
new Jonah Pinedale Industry Collaboration of
five companies to focus on technology, compliance
and emission reductions.
Ultra environmental engineer Todd Rudolph
spoke about the JPIC group formed in
May that includes Anticline Disposal, Ultra,
Pinedale Energy Partners, Jonah Energy and
MPLX LP, a Marathon Petroleum partnership.
They meet monthly or as needed and represent
more than 400 employees, he added.
It is not industry’s first collaborative effort
in the Upper Green but this has more of a “renewed
and different focus on new ideas” and
increased transparency with DEQ, he said.
“Right off the bat we started sharing ideas
and will be discussing ideas in real time during
the 2020 season.”
The group is making changes for “increased
and enhanced monitoring on it own” and operators
plan to host visits for each other’s employees.
Ultra powers about 350 pneumatic heat
trace pumps with solar panels with another
236 to go.
The previous week in Pinedale, Ultra’s
Kelly Bott outlined commitments to find and
repair leaks as quickly as possible with additional
infrared cameras and more trained
Jonah Energy is consolidating its facilities
for existing and new wells, according to Paul
Anticline Disposal installed a “much more
efficient” submerged combustion heater this
year at its water treatment facility to heat and
Also, DEQ’s Cara Keslar said the long-running
disposal pond study has led to the Wyoming
Pond Emissions Calculator “tool” that
would correlate air and water samples for new
permits for produced water facilities.
Dr. Harrist addressed health issues.
“That’s why we’re all here, really,” she said
of ozone’s variable and unpredictable negative
health effects. “Be aware of the ozone levels
in your communities and take steps to reduce
your level of activity outdoors.
She provided the audience with the American
Lung Association’s grades for Sublette
County, which gets a D for ozone and B for
24-hour particle pollution.
Of the county’s total population of 9,799
people, 193 are at risk for pediatric asthma,
690 for adult asthma, 538 for COPD, four with
lung cancer, 698 for cardiovascular disease,
643 risk to low-income and 746 risks to people
with diabetes, according to “State of the Air
There are 2,248 risks to children and teens
under 18 and 1,795 risks to older adults over
For more information
To learn more about the Wyoming DEQ’s
Air Quality Division and history of Upper
Green River Basin’s winter ozone, visit http://
deq.wyoming.gov/aqd/, visit www.winterozone.
org or email questions to [email protected]
For current “live” ozone air-quality levels,
To get DEQ emails about 2020 UBRB
ozone outlooks and ozone exceedances, subscribe
air-quality-winter-ozone/. If you were a subscriber
in 2019, you need to renew your subscription
for the upcoming ozone season.
For more ozone health information, visit