What’s at Stake
Oil and gas drilling is booming in Utah’s Uinta Basin—and so is smog pollution. Earthjustice is working with local groups in a suit that challenges EPA’s failure to protect the region from an escalating public health crisis.
The American Lung Association recently delivered an ominous message to residents of Utah’s Uinta Basin in its 2013 State of the Air report: “The air you breathe may put your health at risk.” Expanding oil and gas operations in the region have contributed significantly to skyrocketing levels of ozone (a.k.a. smog) pollution in recent years. During these high ozone episodes, the air quality in this rural area is worse than in some of the nation’s biggest cities.
In the first three months of 2013, the Uinta Basin suffered 43 days when pollution levels exceeded federal safety thresholds. On several occasions it reached near-emergency levels. At-risk residents were urged to avoid exposure to the air pollution by remaining inside although they live in a region known for wide open spaces and an outdoor-oriented lifestyle.
To protect the health of residents of this region, Earthjustice and a coalition of local groups are suing the EPA to take immediate action to address the escalating dangers in Uinta Basin.