To the Editor:
Methane is the primary gas emitted in natural gas extraction and is also a byproduct of oil drilling. It’s a potent contributor to climate change – more than 80 times stronger than CO2 in a 20-year period.
On Oct. 17, the federal Environmental Protection Agency held its only public hearing regarding its recently proposed rollbacks to the 2016 New Source Performance Standards for the oil and gas industry. The 2016 standards, instituted under former President Obama, sought to decrease methane pollution from new and modified oil and gas structures.
Each year, over 13 million tons of methane is emitted by the oil and gas industry instead of being captured, enough to service 10 million American homes. Methane leaks are often accompanied by other air pollutants, resulting in health risks to communities living near oil and gas sites. Testimonials at the public hearing recounted harmful health effects experienced by people living close to oil and gas sites including nausea, headaches, nosebleeds and respiratory problems. In Ohio, almost 3.3 million people live within a half-mile radius of active oil and gas wells, compressors and processors.
Many of the nation’s largest oil and gas companies have stepped up and implemented new technologies to reduce their methane pollution. BP, Shell and ExxonMobil have even come out against the proposed methane deregulations. With both environmental groups and big corporations on the same side, the bottom line is this: methane regulations make sense, cutting them doesn’t.
Join me in submitting your comments to the U.S. EPA on their proposed methane rollbacks by Nov. 25, 2019.