Clean Air Today – Gone Tomorrow

Air Pollution

Wyoming’s great outdoors are breathtaking, but not just for its natural beauty. Excessive pollution has residents in the western part of the state dealing with bloody noses, watery eyes, and shortness of breath. Levels of pollution in Wyoming have even topped those of major cities like Los Angeles. As a result, officials in this outdoorsy state are urging the elderly, children and people with respiratory problems to avoid too much strenuous activity outside.

Natural gas drilling appears to be the culprit in the spike in Wyoming’s air pollution. Well drilling and equipment maintenance release chemicals that create hazy smog and increase ground-level ozone. These conditions can be hard on the lungs, and increased exposure can lead to serious health risks. In response to these developments, natural gas industry officials are postponing some of their drilling projects. They also intend to reduce truck traffic and use more pollution control equipment.

Natural gas drilling has been a major economic engine for Wyoming’s economy, but some of those profits are coming at the cost of its natural resources and the health of its citizens. The Cowboy State’s struggle with air pollution comes on the heels of a congressional budget bill that seeks to roll back the Clean Air Act and many other environmental protections. Natural gas may be a major investment for Wyoming, but so is  clean air.

Visit NWF’s Action Center to find out how you can speak up for clean air and the environment.

Published: March 8, 2011