“They studied the problem for five years here and still don’t have answers.”
The Denver Post reports:
High levels of winter ozone air pollution have been recorded in a Utah oil and gas field — after the phenomenon was seen in Wyoming — raising concerns that such pollution could become more widespread.
A team of scientists is combing the Uintah Basin to determine the link between the area’s 10,000 oil and gas wells and ozone levels, which in 2011 were higher in eastern Utah than in New York City…
In 2010 and 2011, ozone levels in the Uintah Basin soared. The peak value in 2011 was 139 parts per billion, according to Utah officials.
That was 85 percent higher than the federal health standard, 75 ppb, and above the 99 ppb peak for 2011 in the New York metropolitan area, according to New York Department of Environmental Conservation data…
The industry also has made more than $100 million in investments to curb emissions and set up a system to cut activity on days when ozone is likely to form.
“We are using natural-gas-fired rigs instead of diesel, we are cutting fugitive emissions, and we installed incinerator-grade combustors at well sites,” said Douglas Hock, a spokesman for Encana Corp.
Encana has proposed drilling another 3,500 wells in the area.
Even with the reductions and investments in March 2011, there was a 124 ppb ozone reading.
“They don’t understand what is going on yet,” said Elaine Crumpley, 64, a Pinedale resident and spokeswoman for Citizens United for Responsible Energy Development.
“They studied the problem for five years here and still don’t have answers,” Crumpley said. “I hope they learn something in Utah.”