American Lung Association Applauds New Air Pollution Limits on Methane Pollution from New and Modified Oil and Gas Sources
Safeguards will help protect public health from air pollution and climate change
(May 12, 2016) -
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Statement of Harold P. Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association, in response to today's announcement of final standards for methane emissions for new and modified oil and gas sources by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):
"The American Lung Association applauds the new EPA standards to reduce methane pollution from new and modified oil and gas sources. Requiring steps to limit methane and other toxic emissions from oil and gas facilities built in the future will prevent and reduce leaks that will help protect public health from climate change and dangerous air pollution.
"Reducing methane emissions is essential for an effective response to climate change. Methane is a potent climate change pollutant, contributing to warmer average temperatures, which in turn increases the risk of unhealthy ozone levels. Climate change is already taking a toll on the lung health of millions of Americans from worsened air quality, extreme heat events, wildfires and more.
"Safeguards announced today will help ensure the new oil and gas facilities emit less methane pollution and fewer volatile organic compounds, including carcinogens such as benzene, toluene and formaldehyde. Volatile organic compounds include hazardous toxic gases that can react with other pollutants to form ozone pollution, which is known to cause asthma attacks, hospital admissions for respiratory problems, and premature death.
"In 2025, the new methane pollution standards will reduce an estimated 510,000 short tons of methane and reduce 210,000 tons of volatile organic compounds, including 3,900 tons of air toxics, such as benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene. Populations most at risk from breathing these pollutants include infants, children and teenagers; older adults; people with asthma and other lung diseases; people with cardiovascular disease; people with low incomes; and healthy adults who work or exercise outdoors.
"Today's announcement is a strong step forward in efforts to limit methane pollution from new oil and gas sources. We strongly support EPA taking continued steps to limit emissions from existing oil and gas operations as well. EPA must clean up existing sources because too much dangerous methane is fouling our environment today.
"The Lung Association urges the EPA to build on the vital progress made today and move quickly to set standards that will reduce methane emissions from existing sources and protect the health of Americans."
About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.