Oil and Gas Boom Raises Air Pollution Fears in West

This is from David Frey writing in New West. “Oil and Gas Boom Raises Air Pollution Fears in West.

However, it is not just oil and gas, it is also coal-fired power plants.

There is really only one area left in the West where visibility is virtually unimpaired from human impacts. That is Northern Nevada, extreme SW Idaho, and extreme SE Oregon. Guess what is being proposed for Northern Nevada? How convenient. The pollution that doesn’t stay in Nevada will blow over to Utah and SE Idaho.

Here is the info in the a recent BLM newsletter for Nevada. “Energy Development in Eastern Nevada.







  1. Rob Avatar

    It is time for a resurgence of nuclear power. It does not produce carbon dioxide or release other gases into the atmosphereand is a clean, very reliable, safe form of energy.

  2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    It might well be, but are there any nuclear engineers left in the United State?

  3. kt Avatar

    No, it’s not time for nuclear energy. If you think it is, is there a vacant section or two of land near where you live — perfect site for a new Fourmile Island, El Diablo II, whatever ?

    It’s time for serious conservation; great investment in development of solar (while the sun’s rays still penetrate the car, airplane contrail, and cow-caused brine above us); and wise and NOT DESTRUCTIVE placement of wind facilities – for example, the trashed irrigated ag lands of the Snake River Plain are perfect sites for wind mills – and not the wild ridgetops of the Great Basin or places like Idaho’s Cotterell Mountain.

    The placement of coal-fired power plants in some of the cleanest air in the Nation in Nevada will be facilitated by the White Pine Bill quid pro quo “wilderness” bill ( Harry Reid and John Ensign) that will dispose of public land to facilitate development, as well as to pay for studies of infrastructure across public lands.

    I chuckled when reading the article Ralph linked to with the blase Utah spokesperson showing no concern about Oil and Gas air pollution because the wind, essentially, blows the other way and transports the pollution from Utah Oi and Gas away from the direction of the Wasatch Front. Not so the Nevada plants. That Nevada smog should bottle up nicely against the Wasatch Range. And eastern Idaho. And Yellowstone.

    The sad thing about the Nevada plants is that a hand full of greedy local interests want to foul their own nests – and ours, too – and Nevada’s politicians just facilitated this by laying the groundwork for disposal of OUR public land.

    And as air gets more uniformly polluted and dirty across the region, our reference for WHAT IS clean air disappears, too.

    Also – Is there anyone who reads this who remembers the full story with SWIP, the Southwest Intertie Project,in the early 1990s? I remember it being controversial at that time, but had no real understanding of what was going on.

  4. Elizabeth Avatar

    I am in agreement with KT. Nuclear is nice in theory, but who wants the waste stored anywhere near their community? Not me.

    I also agree that conservation is the key to elimating the burning of fossil fuels. My husband and I are currently designing a home that will be completely solar and geo thermal powered. Yes, it is taking planning and some up front investment, but we will be repaid in the long run with zero electrical bill. More importantly, I will have peace of mind not contributing to the pollution produced by my local coal fired electrical plant.

    Solar is quite affordable now and when combined with common sense energy conservation, it’s really a no-brainer.

  5. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    I think improved energy efficiency has been shown to be the cheapest source of new energy, and it has the fewest negative side effects (negative externalities) by far.

    That was in fact the way the 1970s energy crisis was really solved — energy conservation. Then OPEC’s ability to hold up the price of oil dissolved. The price of oil fell dramatically, and much of the energy conservation was forgotten. It did not have to be abandoned, but it was the beginning of the Reagan Administration, and like Bush, they were wedded to the conventional energy industry. So our chances to meet future energy needs easily were pissed away by a bunch of ideologues in league with the energy industry.

    As far as new energy production goes, I am not convinced that when all the negative side effects are added up, that nuclear is worse than coal, gas, or oil.

    Centralized solar and wind are going to have some pretty dramatic effects too.

    America should have taken Amory Lovin’s “soft energy path,” but the politics weren’t there, and now America suffers energy insecurity, environmental damage, and the threat of terrorists disrupting the energy supply.


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Ralph Maughan