The American Lung Association, along with health and medical professionals from across the country, are urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to quickly finalize rules to reduce methane pollution from the oil and gas industry. Today, February 13, EPA will close the comment period for their proposal.
The American Lung Association, 87 other health and medical organizations and nearly 300 health professionals from 45 states signed onto letters urging EPA to go further to protect the health of Americans.
“EPA’s proposed rule is a significant step toward reining in hazardous air pollutants and climate-warming methane pollution from fossil fuel production,” said Harold Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association. “Stronger limits on methane pollution will have immediate benefits. Not only will the rule curb greenhouse gases and help address climate change, but it will also improve our health by reducing volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs can cause cancer, affect the nervous system, cause birth defects and contribute to ozone pollution, another pollutant that harms health.”
“We recommend that EPA require the oil and gas industry take the strongest steps possible to prevent fugitive emissions of methane and other gases from all operations, including small producing wells, and halt all routine flaring of methane. We thank EPA for their work on proposing stricter pollution standards for new and existing oil and gas wells and urge the agency to quickly finalize this rule to fully protect health.”
Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, which means it contributes to climate change. In fact, methane is over 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide in its warming power as a greenhouse gas. It has been shown to leak into the atmosphere during every stage of the natural gas production process. Climate change is a public health emergency, and quickly and dramatically reducing methane pollution is an essential step to preventing the worst climate impacts. VOCs from oil and gas operations form ground-level ozone pollution and can cause cancer, affect the nervous system and cause birth defects. People who live near oil and gas wells are especially vulnerable and their health can be disproportionately harmed by VOCs.
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, which has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and is a Platinum-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.