In response to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) releasing a proposed rule to cut methane and other harmful pollutants from new and existing oil and gas operations, American Lung Association National President and CEO Harold P. Wimmer issued the following statement:
“Methane pollution from the oil and gas sector is rapidly accelerating the pace of climate change, and toxic air pollution is harming people’s health — especially those living near oil and gas operations. The rule EPA proposed today is a vital step forward in addressing these health threats. We urge EPA to set stronger limits and finalize them into law without delay.
“A recent report from the Lancet Medical Journal highlighted that without aggressive action to slash greenhouse gas pollution, the climate crisis will become the ‘defining narrative of human health.’ EPA must finalize a rule that cuts methane pollution from new and existing oil and gas operations by 65 percent of 2012 levels by 2025.
“Strong final rules will not only curb greenhouse gases, they will also result in immediate public health benefits by reducing volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. Some VOCs can cause cancer, affect the nervous system, or cause birth defects. In addition to being toxic, VOCs contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone, which causes respiratory and cardiovascular harm, heart attacks and asthma attacks, stroke and early death.
“The tools and technology to cut methane pollution from new and existing oil and gas operations exist, and there is broad support for strong federal methane safeguards among the public. Polling data shows nearly 7 out of 10 voters (68%) support strong federal methane safeguards.
“The proposed rule represents an important move towards curbing methane pollution, reducing toxic pollution from oil and gas operations, and tackling the global climate crisis. The American Lung Association will engage in the public comment period to urge EPA to prioritize the health of Americans and finalize comprehensive, loophole-free methane safeguards.”
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 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 Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.