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Grand Teton National Park Showcased in Fracking Report

PHOTO: Paintbrush Canyon in Grand Teton National Park. Grand Teton is a case study in a new report that highlights risks to national parks because of hydraulic fracturing. Photo credit: Sarah Zenner, NPS
PHOTO: Paintbrush Canyon in Grand Teton National Park. Grand Teton is a case study in a new report that highlights risks to national parks because of hydraulic fracturing. Photo credit: Sarah Zenner, NPS
April 26, 2013

MOOSE, Wyo. – Tread carefully when it comes to Grand Teton National Park.

That's the gist of a new report from the National Parks Conservation Association that looks at how the hydraulic fracturing boom is creeping closer to park boundaries.

Sharon Mader is the Grand Teton program manager for NPCA. She says Wyoming is seen as a leader in requiring companies to divulge ingredients used in fracking.

Air quality is still a concern. Some development is taking place about 60 miles from the park – a distance that's expected to shrink in the years to come.

"Prevailing winds can often carry pollutants that impair visibility as well as create health problems," Mader says.

Another issue is how roads, drill pads and industrial sounds affect critters that migrate, especially pronghorn.

The report recommends that the National Park Service be a partner when federal agencies review oil and gas development plans.

Mader cites Wyoming's air pollution problems at Pinedale as part of the reason the oil and gas industry, and the state, have stepped up monitoring.

The National Park Service is also being proactive, with recent installation of an air quality tower in Grand Teton.

"Many of the companies are now implementing best practices and new technology to help to reduce impacts on air quality,” Mader says. “But we need to constantly improve and evolve."

Scenic changes and light pollution are also noted in the report as risks associated with nearby oil and gas development.

Other parks featured in the report: Glacier National Park and Theodore Roosevelt National Park.



Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - WY