Environmental Responsibility

Wyoming’s oil and natural gas industry is serious in its commitment to environmental responsibility.

The vast majority of the people working in our industry are true Wyomingites who love the state because of the unmatched natural resources – wildlife, open space, clean air and water – it has to offer. Ensuring these resources are able to be enjoyed by future generations is at the core of what we do.

We can produce the energy Americans and the world needs while continuing to leave Wyoming a better place.  We are proud of our role in building a strong and vibrant Wyoming while also ensuring our wild and open spaces stay wild and open.

Wyoming’s air quality is protected by federal legislation known as the Clean Air Act, which is overseen by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and is administered in Wyoming by the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality – Air Quality Division (DEQ).

Most oil and natural gas regulations can be found in Chapter 6, Section 2 of DEQ’s rules. Thanks to the industry’s compliance with these rules and innovations in operations, Wyoming has seen a significant decline in emissions from 1990 to 2017 while seeing an increase in production over the same period.

Wyoming Petroleum Production vs Emissions

On average, emissions from the production of Wyoming oil and natural gas have gone down by 63.5 percent while the barrels of oil equivalent (BOE) produced has increased by 48.5 percent. That represents a 75 percent decrease in emissions per BOE.

Wyoming’s oil and gas operators go to great lengths, often voluntarily, to ensure that operations are the cleanest, most efficient they can be. For example, extraordinary efforts in the Upper Green River Basin by oil and gas operators have led to a significant decline in ozone emissions. And nationally, carbon emissions have declined precipitously even as production has risen.

Emissions Reductions by Industry, 1990-2017

Carbon Monoxide 67%
Nitrogen Oxides 61.5%
Volatile Organic Compounds 45%
Particulate Matter 10 45%
Particulate Matter 2.5 46.5%
Sulfur Dioxide 89.5%

Wyoming is also on the forefront of governing industry at home. In 2014, Wyoming was one of the first states to limit the amount of natural gas that can be flared during production. Through the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, operators are limited to flaring 60 mcf per day per well.

To monitor and provide information to the public and other stakeholders on our state’s air quality, the Wyoming Air Quality Monitoring Network website features live images and current air quality conditions from monitoring locations throughout Wyoming. Images are updated every 15 minutes, and meteorological, air quality and visibility information are presented in near real time.

Water is one of Wyoming’s most important resources – having played a major role in the settlement of our communities and the success of all major industries like agriculture, tourism and oil and natural gas development. Wyoming’s water resources are protected by multiple layers of regulation at the federal and state levels including the Clean Water Act, Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality regulations and Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission rules found in Chapter 3, Section 46.