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Iowa's governor has restored the right to vote for people with past felony convictions via executive order; and Tennessee has a primary election today.

New EPA Smog Standards Could Clear the Air in Sublette County

January 8, 2010

PINEDALE, Wyo. - A day after new rules were unveiled for oil and gas leasing on public lands, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unveiled new rules to reduce smog, which is connected to the oil and gas industry in Wyoming. Smog is ground-level ozone generated by heavy industry, power plants, landfills and vehicles, and even occurs naturally in some areas. Sublette County has seen its share of smog in recent years as gas production has ramped up.

Pinedale resident Mary Lynn Worl, with Citizens United for Responsible Energy Development (CURED), petitioned the EPA for the tougher standards, which will require industry to install pollution control equipment.

"The technology is available. Yes, it's going to cost industry, but if this improves the health of one child in Sublette County, then it is more than worth it."

The standards are proposed as a way to protect public health because ground-level ozone is linked to aggravation of asthma and an increase of premature death in people with heart or lung disease. Smog is commonly associated with big cities, admits Worl, and the realization that it's become a problem in parts of Wyoming has been shocking to some.

"Here in Wyoming, we're so used to our beautiful blue skies until, perhaps, you see drastic changes - and we've seen such changes here in Sublette County."

The EPA reviewed almost 2,000 scientific studies along with citizen petitions in making the decision. The new primary standard would be between 60 and 70 parts per million over eight hours. The current standard is 75.

The new EPA standards are at www.epa.gov/groundlevelozone.

Deb Courson, Public News Service - WY