In Pinedale, Wyo., Residents Adjust to Air Pollution

Just a generation ago . . . cleanest air the West set against the highest mountains in Wyoming-

It was wonderful to backpack, fish, and climb in the Wind River Mountains in the day when they did not overlook a miasma of gas field air pollution.

In Pinedale, Wyo., Residents Adjust to Air Pollution. By Kirk Johnson. New York Times.






  1. Mike Avatar

    Very sad.

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      Enough to make you cry. Oh! that was the ozone!

      1. Wyo Native Avatar
        Wyo Native

        As a person who grew up in this area we have always had poor air quality in this area during the winter months. This idea of the Green River valley being crystal clear air during the winter months is a myth.

        Although there is no doubt that the increased population and increased energy production contributes to the poor air quality days, the only reason we are are paying attention now is because the Wyoming DEQ forced the energy companies to place sensors in various spots in the county. If these sensors would have been in place 30 years ago we would have seen ozone levels that are far worse than the ones we have seen on several days this year.

  2. Leslie Avatar

    I grew up in LA during the 60’s and had plenty of ‘no outside days’. LA’s air is cleaner now probably than Pinedale’s. LA doesn’t have ozone inside days anymore.

    What is more sad is that these people are willing to adjust or say ‘that’s our livlihood’. Why? I hiked every summer since 1996 in the Wind Rivers and Pinedale was a nice clean small community back then. Have people forgotten what it was just 15 years ago?

    In a few years, when the wells are all in, all the workers will leave, the wells will still be running and the town going bust again but this time with poor air quality and a terrible visual landscape.

    Frankly the longer I live the less I understand people and what they value.

  3. Steve C Avatar
    Steve C

    If you vote republican you deserve to live with the consequences. Their county went 80% for bush in 2004 and 80% for mccain in 2008.

    1. Wyo Native Avatar
      Wyo Native

      Ya too bad that most of the leases in the Pinedale Anticline, and Jonah Field that are now suspect for the poor air quality were actually given out during the Clinton admin in the late ’90s.

      These leases were heavily sought after McMurray oil developed the procedure to fractionate the tight sand formations. That along with the heavy push by the Al Gores of the world to move our energy policy towards natural gas created perfect storm for for the situation that now exists in Sublette County.

    2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      It has been one continuous stream of pressure to develop this area. I don’t think anyone can single out an especially bad or good administration, but it story after story about the mishandling of BLM on-shone and off-shore and gas leases broke during the period after 2000.

      Of course, Dick Cheney was awful. So were many others, but they were more quiet about it.

      Do folks remember the scandal of leases being giving in return for sexual favors from oil lobbyists? That story broke during Bush Administration. I’m not sure when this type of payment began.

      Now Salazar is bragging about how many leases he has given.

  4. Steve C Avatar
    Steve C

    I am sure Dick Cheney had nothing to do with any of these problems…

  5. Alan Gregory Avatar

    This is yet another reminder of what much of the Oklahoma landscape looked to me while I lived in the Sooner State in the mid 80s. All the way down to the lawn in front of the state capitol.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan