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GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) – The state Department of Environmental Quality plans to study the emissions from more than 381 portable diesel generators for Powder River Basin coal bed methane wells.

DEQ Air Quality Administrator Dan Olson said his agency is concerned about pollution from the generators and wants well owners and operators to file information about the machines with his office.

“My main focus is that the industry group out there works with us to satisfy their needs as well as ours,” Olson said Thursday.

At the same time, DEQ officials concede they do not know the overall emissions from trains, mine equipment, vehicles and other sources in the basin.

The portable generators have become necessary because gas development is occurring faster than electricity lines can be built to the wells.

Earlier this year, the DEQ announced that no more diesel-powered units will be allowed until the agency could study the situation. Information on at least 381 diesel-fired generators was submitted in June.

The owners of the generators contend the machines are not significant polluters compared to the other pollution sources in the area.

“We are hoping that at maximum (DEQ) would require permits. But we hope they say this is not a problem,” said Michael Von Flatern, owner of Innovative Mining Equipment in Gillette.

Von Flatern shares ownership in some portable generators and is a member of the Powder River Basin Portable Generation Commission, a group formed to represent the industry on the issue.

The group says the DEQ’s current permitting rules do not fit how the same generators are reused in different places.

Under the current rules, portable generator owners might wait 120 days to get a permit to move one. The group has instead suggested a one-time permit that allows the DEQ to be informed of a move just five days ahead of time.

Olson said DEQ administrators will consider the proposal.

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