November 25, 2014
In April of 2012 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) advised Wyoming’s governor by letter that three counties (Lincoln, Sublette, and Sweetwater) in the state’s Upper Green River Basin (UGRB) were to be listed as non-attainment for 2008 U.S. ozone standards. Because EPA determined the region to be only marginally out of compliance in 2012, the state was given three years to correct the problem and bring emissions below the federal threshold.
EPA’s conclusion, and three year deadline for compliance, could significantly affect the Jonah Infill and Pinedale Anticline, two of the nation’s largest oil and gas fields. The UGRB has struggled with a wintertime ozone problem that is marked by stagnant air that allows pollution emitted mostly by drilling operations to collect in the lower atmosphere and then be converted into ozone by sunlight and heat reflecting off snowpack on the ground.
On October 24, 2014 the Wyoming Department Environmental Quality (WDEQ) released its update to the Ozone Strategy for the UGRB. The Air Quality Division considered how the strategy should devolve after September 2014 to describe the overall ozone strategy that will continue through March 2015.
While the October 21, 2014 Ozone Strategy largely focuses on winter ozone season work as well as the continuation of work on elements from the April 22, 2014 Ozone Strategy, it also included four rulemaking subject areas that are to be worked on through the end of March 2015, and into subsequent time periods.
- Continue to proceed through the statutory rulemaking process for a Phase I technology based control strategy and regulatory option to reduce emissions from existing upstream oil and gas sources while preserving the current New Source Review permitting processes.
- Evaluate a Phase II emission budget based control strategy and regulatory option to reduce emissions from existing upstream and midstream oil and gas sources.
- Gather information on how an incentive program could be coordinated with rulemaking processes to accelerate emission reductions in the UGRB nonattainment area prior to completion of statutory rulemaking processes.
- Integrate stakeholder involvement in the gathering and evaluation of information that may be utilized in a Phase II emission budget based control strategy and regulatory option to reduce emissions from existing upstream and midstream oil and gas sources.
WDEQ added that the implementation of this new regulation will ultimately reduce emissions from existing oil and gas sources in the ozone nonattainment area. Click here to read the October 2014 UGRB Ozone Strategy on WDEQ’s Web site.
What this means to you
Wyoming’s UGRB upstream oil and gas operations may be facing stricter drilling operation emission control rules in order to bring the region into compliance for ozone.
MIRATECH can help
Contact MIRATECH to discuss emission compliance strategies in remote oil and gas drilling operations.