A shift towards clean solar energy would greatly reduce pollution in the air we breathe each day. Would you believe that Wyoming has a worse smog problem than Los Angeles? Believe it or not, because of a boom in natural gas drilling, the smog in Wyoming exceeds Los Angeles’.
Local ozone levels exceeded the peak levels recorded in the biggest U.S.
cities last year. Residents living near the gas fields in the western
part of the state are reporting watery eyes, shortness of breath and
Early data confirms the region’s ozone levels last week jumped as high as 124 parts per billion, which is two-thirds higher than the Environmental Protection Agency’s maximum healthy limit of 75 parts per billion. Last year, the absolute worst day in Los Angeles recorded ozone levels at 114 parts per billion.
In the Upper Green River Basin, some daycare centers have called off outdoor recess. State officials have advised the elderly, children, and people with respiratory problems to avoid strenuous or prolonged outdoor activity.
Some have accused the state of trading off health for profit. Wyoming is currently prospering and boasts one of the nation’s lowest unemployment rates, 6.4 percent. It is also expected to run a budget surplus this year when most other states are running huge deficits.
Gas industry officials insist they are trying to curb smog by reducing truck traffic and changing to drilling rigs with pollution control equipment. They have reported fewer smog related emissions than in 2008. Last week, Gov. Matt Mead met with state regulators to discuss what else companies can do to reduce smog.