City of Boulder, Wyoming, and its 75 souls that live there have something in common with much larger cities across North America: high levels of air pollution. The root cause for the bad air is the region’s booming natural gas industry because the Sublette County is home to one of the largest natural gas reserves in the United States.
Craig Jensen, resident of the unincorporated community of Boulder, is concerned of the changes. He said that the sky is no longer colored or the horizon crystal clear as they used to be. “Makes you wonder what it’s going to do to the grass, the trees and the birds”, he said. He’s right and Wyoming issued the first ozone alerts after ground-level ozone numbers exceeded healthy levels, 11 times since January.
Boulder, Wyoming is not meeting federal air-quality standards right now and if things won’t change there will be drastic measures that will affect everyone in the region including the energy sector.
Gas developers in the area said they are working to reduce ozone and emissions. They insisted their companies should continue drilling.
The Department of Environmental Quality is aware of the air problem in the area and David Finley said “We understand that the people who are living up there cannot wait two or three years for us to develop regulatory tools.” They are working together with the gas companies, on a plan to reduce air pollution in the area.
Craig Jensen, have seen the both sides of a booming gas industry in the area. He’s been paid royalties for wells on his land, which allowed him to buy all sorts of “toys”, but he’s now wishing the good old days to come back, with clear skies, less traffic and fewer people.