Water is not the only thing at risk. Find below a tale of the AIR becoming polluted following the gas drilling boom.
Source : Associated Press
By MEAD GRUVER, Associated Press – Tue Mar 8, 4:48 pm ET
CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Wyoming, famous for its crisp mountain air and breathtaking, far-as-the-eye-can-see vistas, is looking a little bit like smoggy Los Angeles these days because of a boom in natural gas drilling.
Folks who live near the gas fields in the western part of this outdoorsy state are complaining of watery eyes, shortness of breath and bloody noses because of ozone levels that have exceeded what people in L.A. and other major cities wheeze through on their worst pollution days.
“It is scary to me personally. I never would have guessed in a million years you would have that kind of danger here,” Debbee Miller, a manager at a Pinedale snowmobile dealership, said Monday.
In many ways, it’s a haze of prosperity: Gas drilling is going strong again, and as a result, so is the Cowboy State’s economy. Wyoming enjoys one of the nation’s lowest unemployment rates, 6.4 percent. And while many other states are running up monumental deficits, lawmakers are projecting a budget surplus of more than $1 billion over the coming year in this state of a half-million people.
Still, in the Upper Green River Basin, where at least one daycare center called off outdoor recess and state officials have urged the elderly to avoid strenuous outdoor activity, some wonder if they’ve made a bargain with the devil. Two days last week, ozone levels in the gas-rich basin rose above the highest levels recorded in the biggest U.S. cities last year.
“They’re trading off health for profit. It’s outrageous. We’re not a Third World country,” said Elaine Crumpley, a retired science teacher who lives just outside Pinedale.
Preliminary data show ozone levels last Wednesday got as high as 124 parts per billion. That’s two-thirds higher than the Environmental Protection Agency’s maximum healthy limit of 75 parts per billion and above the worst day in Los Angeles all last year, 114 parts per billion, according to EPA records. Ozone levels in the basin reached 116 on March 1 and 104 on Saturday.
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