Smog Invades the Cowboy State

Unhealthy, smog-filled air has struck an unsuspecting locale: rural Wyoming.
March 12, 2011, 1pm PST | Nate Berg
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"In many ways, it's a haze of prosperity: Gas drilling is going strong, and as a result, so is the Cowboy State's economy. Wyoming enjoys one of the nation's lowest unemployment rates, 6.4%. And while many other states are running up monumental deficits, lawmakers are projecting a budget surplus of more than $1 billion over the coming year in this state of a half-million people.

Still, in the Upper Green River Basin, where at least one daycare center called off outdoor recess and state officials have urged the elderly to avoid strenuous outdoor activity, some wonder if they've made a bargain with the devil. Two days last week, ozone levels in the gas-rich basin rose above the highest levels recorded in the biggest U.S. cities last year."

Locals are being urged to stay indoors some days, and ozone levels have been recorded at nearly twice the amount found safe by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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Published on Wednesday, March 9, 2011 in USA Today
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