Making a move before
winter snows blanket the Pinedale Anticline,
Ultra Resources officials came to Pinedale
on Wednesday, Nov. 15, to update the public
about changes made since last March’s unexpectedly
high ozone exceedances. News was
served up with hot pizza at Old Stone’s.
Ultra received notices of air-quality violations
last spring from the Wyoming Department
of Environmental Quality after inspectors
found many small leaks in Ultra and Pinedale
Energy equipment that likely contributed to
high pollutants that create ozone.
The Upper Green River Basin’s winter
ozone was previously unknown, pushing operators
and scientists to learn about the invisible
tasteless gas, created in winter when direct
sunlight reflects off snow and “cooks” volatile
organic compounds and nitrogen oxides during
a temperature inversion at ground level.
Since then, operators, their employees,
DEQ staff, citizen groups and scientists have
worked to raise awareness about wintertime
DEQ then set up its statewide air quality
network of live monitors around the Upper
Green River Basin and other oil and gas development
areas and issues “ozone action day”
warnings, which trigger contingency efforts to
reduce combustion. It has installed a new mobile
station on Paradise Road.
The state and operators now focus on continuing
to reduce combustion emissions with
new technology and replacing traditional engines
with solar panels – one of Ultra’s proposals
that has happened since March, according
to Kelly Bott, environmental and regulatory
“We replaced 350 pneumatic heat trace
pumps with solar power, which removes direct
emissions and reduces opportunities for leaks
and fugitive gas,” she said.
Ultra also purchased two more infrared
cameras to monitor fugitive emissions, bringing
the count to five, and trained 24 additional
staff as inspectors for a total of 37, she said.
“We have dedicated four full-time inspectors
to the Jonah and Pinedale fields,” Bott
Another improvement is using the Supervisory
Control and Data Acquisition or SCADA
system to link offices to wells for “real time”
communications and responses, she said.
One new monitor at the New Fork River
Crossing Park and 11 more will be part of a
one-year internal audit while Ultra checks data
to see if this will help pinpoint problem polluting
“If a drilling rig is nearby, it could be
moved as a short-term contingency measure,”
Bott said. “We will have the unique position to
see what’s going on in the field every minute
of every day.”
Jasmine Allison, Pinedale environmental
and regulatory analyst, said Ultra is also increasing
inspections – “taking a closer look
A major goal is to protect coworkers and
contractors from unhealthy ozone, with the internal
monitoring system adding more specific
and timely data.
“We want to protect our employees,” she
said. “We want to understand what’s going on
Repairs will be streamlined – in the past,
an inspector such as Carrie Hatch would tag
a point that needed repair, tell a foreman and
check that someone had fixed it. Those repairs
should now be done within 24 hours.
“Our goal is to have it fixed by the next
day,” said Pinedale director of operations Jim
At this point in time, Ultra has no drilling
rigs in the Pinedale Anticline and doesn’t anticipate
any through the winter unless the market
improves, according to CEO Jay Stratton.
Pinedale Energy Partners has one in the Anticline
and in the Jonah Field, Jonah Energy
has five rigs.
“We don’t even know if we will have an
ozone season,” Bott said, with less oil and gas
MARBLETON – The Marbleton Town
Council heard the news that the town has to
return tax money distributed last year and
recalled after a company wrongly paid states
sales taxes in Sublette County.
Town Clerk Shannon McCormick explained
to Mayor Jim Robinson and councilmembers
Jeff McCormick, Roger McMannis,
BJ Meador and Mack Bradley that Badger
Daylighting had wrongly paid taxes to the
state and county for equipment that was never
After Sublette County was told by the Department
of Revenue it needed to return more
than $1.6 million in tax revenues, commissioners
agreed that each municipality would
be on the hook for its share.
Marbleton’s share is $168,381.06, about
twice as much as Big Piney at $85,478.78.
Mayor Robinson said, “Badger Daylighting
was tagging all of its trucks in Wyoming
and therefore paid taxes in the county. Our
share is $168,381 and change.”
McCormick said Sublette County Treasurer
Emily Paravicini advised her that the town
could undertake a five-year payment plan to
the Department of Revenue.
“How does all this work?” Robinson asked.
“I’m not sure,” McCormick said. “Big Piney’s
not sure. We owe the state and the county
owes the state.”
Bradley asked if Badger had a tax
Town Attorney Thayne Peterson said the
whole situation “throws me.”
“This was Badger’s manipulation,” he
said. “I would recommend at this point in time
setting up a payment schedule and contact the
Attorney General’s Office and see if this is in
the works or if they are giving up.”
Robinson asked why the town or county
funds should be returned to the state. “My
wish at this time is to table this and do our
McMannis said he felt the same way. “It’s
a manipulation by Badger – I think Badger
Marbleton tables repaying Badger sales tax
activity on the Pinedale Anticline.
Pre-winter ozone meeting
Ultra Resources and other operators and
groups will be at the Wyoming Department
of Environmental Quality’s annual Pre-Winter
Ozone Season Meeting for the public on Monday,
Nov. 18, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Boulder
Community Center, 304 Adams St., Boulder.