Volume 106, Number 7 - February 12, 2009
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Town Council hears ozone issues
As Sublette County’s ozone season builds its winter momentum, two separate delegations approached the Pinedale Town Council on Monday night with air quality issues on their wish list.
Citizens United for Responsible Energy Development (CURED) were first to present ozone matters before the council concerning a petition they are currently producing, which is ultimately headed for the desk of Gov. Dave Freudenthal. They were followed by Jeff Soltis, a representative of the University of Wyoming, who is helping to organize a six-month ozone study in Sublette County.
The message of the CURED contingent was a simple one.
“One of our goals and missions is the health of Sublette County,” said CURED representative Tina Rock. “And what we’re doing is, we are going to petition to the governor to lower ozone standards for Sublette County.
“We are asking the Town Council to endorse us, either by writing a letter yourselves or signing the petition.”
The national standard for ozone is currently established at 75 parts per billion (ppb), but other countries have opted for a lower level.
“It’s worth noting too, that when they lowered the standard, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) recommended a standard between 60 and 70,” said councilman Dave Smith. “Canada agreed to 65. Most of the EU (European Union) uses 65. 65 is the going number. I mean, I’m in favor of it.”
Sixty-five is, in fact, the standard that CURED would like the governor to apply to the county.
“We’re not going with the whole state because we have unique weather conditions here that we feel we’re justified in isolating Sublette County,” said CURED representative Elaine Crumpley.
“We’re not trying to stop this (development),” said Rock. “We’re just trying to make it cleaner.”
While council member Chris House was not present at Monday’s meeting, the mayor and other members expressed their interest in the petition.
“I think you have the council’s support,” said Mayor Stephen Smith. “You have all of our approval.”
The council was advised to wait until the petition has been finalized before passing a resolution that endorses the document.
Following the presentation of CURED came Soltis, a representative from UW’s School of Atmospheric Science, who was on hand to provide the council with a detailed account of an ozone study that is taking place for the next six months, ending in July.
“The project we’re conducting, we’re calling the Upper Green River Ozone Investigation,” said Soltis. “And we’re looking at three important components.”
The three components that the study will investigate include the ambient air quality of Sublette County, the spatial distribution of ozone and the personal exposure to ozone.
For ambient air quality, the university has a mobile monitoring lab that will be parked at five different locations throughout the next six months. It is currently located at Big Piney High School.
“And it will be there through about the third week of February,” said Soltis.
The final location will be at Pinedale High School in July.
In testing the spatial distribution, 50 monitoring sites have been established in the county, including “10 sites directly in the Pinedale area,” according to Soltis.
When an ozone advisory is issued, similar to last Wednesday and Thursday, volunteers have been coordinated to install passive samplers at the monitoring sites to determine the air quality throughout the day, thereby providing a “weather map of ozone.”
For the personal exposure survey, Soltis is seeking local volunteers from Pinedale to wear personal air monitoring devices that will measure air quality for the next six months. Apart from wearing the monitor, volunteers are simply required to keep a diary of daily whereabouts.
“We’re looking for a mix of people, not really any particular type,” said Soltis.
Training for volunteers started on Wednesday afternoon of this week, and will continue on Friday, starting at 9 a.m. at Rock Rabbit, and again at 7 p.m. at Town Hall. Anyone interested in volunteering is encouraged to contact Soltis at 307-399-5434.
— Big Rig Catering approached the council seeking a building permit for the newly acquired business, located at 306 South Bridger Avenue.
After tabling the same request at the Jan. 12 meeting, based on construction having started before the permit was issued, the council quickly approved the request this time around, since a resident had pointed out a similar oversight for construction on the new Town Shop at the Jan. 26 meeting.
“I was the one who kind of made a stink about the (owners) not being here last time,” said councilman Smith. “And then we kind of got it rubbed in our noses with the building permit at the Town Shop, so it’s not very appropriate to give you a hard time.
“So thanks for coming, and I’ll make a motion that we approve the building permit as written.”
The council granted the permit unanimously.
— A building permit was also issued to Thomas Kellen to construct a 4-unit apartment complex at the northeast corner of Coulter Loop.
— Citizens living on Quartz St. approached the council with complaints about freezing pipes in their neighborhood. Through last fall, construction was done in that area for the Water and Sewer Rehabilitation Project, leading the residents to contend that the construction had lowered the grade of the road, thereby leading to a higher freezing risk.
Those with frozen pipes had not kept their bleeders running, however, resulting in little sympathy from the council.
In a 3-1 vote, the council did approve splitting the thawing costs for Tim Lingle, since he had approached the council at a prior meeting, showing a kinked water pipe that he attributed to shoddy street construction in front of his house.
“I think we’re setting a pretty bad example,” voiced council member Nylla Kunard, who was against such a payment.
— The council also voted to hire Kate Grimes to assist in the engineering and planning department of Pinedale.
Grimes is the former zoning administrator for the Sublette County Planning and Zoning office.
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