EPA, methane & health

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review - Letter to the Editor

By Mollie Simon, Philadelphia

September 3, 2015

In regard to the news story “EPA releases rules to curb methane emissions from oil, gas industry” : The methane regulations proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency are an achievable standard that will do more than curb climate change; they will have a positive impact on public health. Methane and other air pollutants released in oil and gas processes are key in the formation of ozone and smog, which plague industrial areas like Pittsburgh with respiratory and cardiac problems.

Industry representatives refer to these regulations as “duplicative” and “unnecessary” because some companies are cutting emissions voluntarily. This is misleading. Of the over 450 producers in Pennsylvania, fewer than 10 have joined EPA's Natural Gas STAR Program, the industry's leading voluntary program that helps companies locate and prevent methane leaks. Industry has had the opportunity to act and it has failed.

These regulations can go even further to safeguard public health. The EPA rules only address new sources of methane pollution, but the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has the opportunity to take these important rules a step further by developing regulations for existing sources. This would be hugely beneficial for the millions of Pennsylvanians who are living near natural gas infrastructure.

Read the full letter here

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