To the editor:
Right this minute, our neighbors to the north in and around the small town of Pinedale, Wyo., are suffering from smog as bad as our largest American cities like Los Angeles.
We could be next. This type of horrendous air quality could well be in Northwest Colorado's future. It's a scary thought, but the threat is real if the Bureau of Land Management allows thousands of new oil and gas wells to be drilled in Moffat County as part of its Little Snake Resource Management Plan revision.
Last month, Pinedale town councilman David Smith spoke in Craig, warning us that our air could look like Pinedale's air, which is about as bad as that of Beijing, China. Pinedale's acrid air is caused by the nearby Jonah oil and gas field, one of the most dense and polluting gas fields in Wyoming. I used to live in Sublette County, where Pinedale is located, and I have seen for myself how that county has been transformed from an area of stark beauty, tourist opportunities and teeming wildlife to a nightmare landscape of heavy traffic, bad air, multiple well pads and depleted animal populations.
If our air becomes so bad residents begin to suffer respiratory illnesses and our wildlife habitat is harmed, it could hurt our economy more than energy development helps it. The BLM should address how serious our air quality could be degraded by the thousands of new wells it has slated for Moffat County. If it doesn't, our health, our economy and our quality of life could be damaged more than we expect.
If you don't believe it could or will happen here, take a trip to Pinedale. See it and breath it, and you will have little choice but to believe it.