Spill the news

South Philly Review

By Susan Pat­rone - Letter to the Editor

May 26, 2016

Pound for pound, meth­ane is 80 times more po­tent than car­bon di­ox­ide for trap­ping green­house gases. In 2014, the gas and oil in­dustry leaked nine mil­lion met­ric tons of meth­ane pol­lu­tion in­to the air.

To the Ed­it­or:

Do you know that there are in­vis­ible oil spills leak­ing in­to our air every day?

These in­vis­ible spills are meth­ane gas. Meth­ane is the waste of nat­ur­al gas ex­trac­tion and trans­port­a­tion. Pound for pound, meth­ane is 80 times more po­tent than car­bon di­ox­ide for trap­ping green­house gases. In 2014, the gas and oil in­dustry leaked nine mil­lion met­ric tons of meth­ane pol­lu­tion in­to the air.

Every day we breathe and ab­sorb this meth­ane waste, along with smog form­ing volat­ile or­gan­ic com­pounds (VOCs) and one spe­cific­ally in­si­di­ous tox­ic air pol­lut­ant: ben­zene.

There is some good news. The En­vir­on­ment­al Pro­tec­tion Agency has just fi­nal­ized a first pro­tect­ive meas­ure.

We now have a Fed­er­al Meth­ane Leak­age Stand­ard for new and mod­i­fied nat­ur­al gas in­fra­struc­ture like well pads, pipelines and com­pressor sta­tions. These fed­er­al safe­guards are proven, low-cost safe­guards. We need to take the next step and max­im­ize pub­lic safety to in­clude the ex­ist­ing nat­ur­al gas in­fra­struc­ture with­in this rule.

We already have an aging net­work of gas pipelines that con­nect all our homes. There are plans to ex­pand our fossil fuel in­fra­struc­ture to make Phil­adelphia an “en­ergy hub.” Couldn’t we bet­ter de­ploy re­sources and cre­ate jobs to se­cure the safety of our ex­ist­ing in­fra­struc­ture and most im­port­antly our cit­izens?

Susan Pat­rone

South Phil­adelphia


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