USU air quality expert is Clean Air Person of the Year

Dr. Seth Lyman. Photo courtesy of Utah State University

LOGAN – Utah State University air quality expert Seth Lyman is Utah’s Clean Air Person of the Year, named recently by the Utah Clean Air Partnership (UCAIR).

A faculty member at USU’s Vernal campus, he was recognized for his work in developing solutions to fight air pollution in the Uintah Basin, a much different challenge than northern Utah’s pollution.

”Pollution in Cache Valley and on the Wasatch Front is really driven by cars, agriculture, things like that,” said Dr. Lyman. “Whereas, out where I am there aren’t a lot of people.

“There is some agriculture, but not as much — at least not as concentrated. But what we do have a lot of is oil and gas wells. The mix of pollution that comes out of the oil and gas industry is just right to make ozone in the wintertime.”

He was recognized for his ability to explain the science to leaders of local government and those who run the 25 oil and gas companies in the Basin.

”We do a lot of work, I guess what we call outreach, to explain what we are doing, to involve a lot of partners, so at the end of the day people are accepting of, or understand why we are out there, and are willing to be a part of it.”

He said company leaders give them access to their facilities, to make measurements, and when Dr. Lyman’s group expects a high ozone alert the community is notified and often industry leaders are willing to reduce emissions.

Dr. Seth Lyman is Director of USU’s Bingham Entrepreneurship & Energy Center in Vernal and he is a research associate professor in chemistry and biochemistry. He said credit for the progress made in the Uintah Basin belongs to his coworkers at the Bingham Center, as well as local oil and gas companies, elected officials, government agencies, the Ute Tribe, and environmental advocates.

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