Wolf is taking steps to regulate methane

York Daily Record

By Mollie Simon - Letter to the Editor

January 29, 2015

As Mitch Hescox outlines in his column, “Christians support Pa. methane reduction plan,” reducing pollution from natural gas operations is a health and moral issue. As a Catholic and an environmentalist, I am excited that Gov. Wolf is taking steps to regulate methane from both new and existing sources across Pennsylvania.

Methane emissions from natural gas operations are spewing pollution at the expense of communities and neighborhoods. This is happening in Pennsylvania, the second largest natural gas producing state, but also across the country. In California, a massive methane leak in Porter Ranch has caused thousands of people to be evacuated from their homes for weeks and will have untold lasting environmental impacts. It is beyond time that these emissions are capped in order to protect those who live near natural gas infrastructure. The cost of inaction is too great. 

While I am excited by the standards outlined by the governor, I am also concerned that these protective measures will only apply for Pennsylvania. We need the Environmental Protection Agency and the Obama Administration to establish similar safeguards nationally so that other states with oil and gas operations can also benefit from reduced pollution.

Along with the serious health risks, methane is also over 80 times as potent a greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide. We all agree we must limit our carbon emissions in order to curb climate change, but we also must do the same for methane emissions. As persons of faith, to not address the climate and public health challenge would be to abandon our neighbors in need and neglect our obligation to be caretakers of Earth. 

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