Op-eds and Columns

Pittsburgh Post Gazette Op-ed: EPA’s methane rollback is bad for Pa., nation

On Aug. 13, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator and former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler stopped in Pittsburgh to announce the finalization of another dangerous regulatory rollback. Amid the global pandemic and over 1,000 Americans dying every day from acute respiratory disease, EPA gutted commonsense air pollution standards that protect the public from methane leaks from fracked gas infrastructure. These methane controls, known as the 2016 New Source Performance Standards for the Oil and Natural Gas Industry (2016 NSPS), have been successfully implemented for years. They have already helped prevent hundreds of thousands of tons of industrial methane leaks.

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Pennsylvania Capital-Star Op-ed: We need to stop EPA’s ‘COVID made me do it’ defense for polluters

In one of the most unconscionable public health decisions to date, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is openly admitting it will turn a blind eye to industry polluters who claim COVID19 “made them pollute.”

Oil and gas companies will now profit from being able to easily release dangerous toxins into our atmosphere at the expense of our wellbeing.

Deregulation of pollution standards is what will cause Pennsylvania to yet again experience one of the hottest summers on record according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Not only are temperatures rising but so are extreme weather conditions.

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Philadelphia Citizen Op-ed: Philly’s Hot Weather Health Crisis

Usually it is really hot and humid in Philadelphia in the summer, but this summer will be something different.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecasts that 2020 has a 75-percent chance of being the hottest year on record in the United States since records began in 1880, beating 2016. This summer will require the City to rethink how we deal with extreme heat and climate change.

It’s extremely worrisome what the long, hot summer months will bring to Philadelphia. What’s more troubling is which groups of people will suffer the most. Many Philadelphians are very vulnerable to the heat, but the risk is not evenly distributed.

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Utility Dive Op-ed: The truth about the future of gas: We don’t need to build anymore

What is the future of gas in the U.S. electric power sector? Is it essential, long-term, for a reliable and economical electric supply? A new study from UC Berkeley provides the latest answer, demonstrating it is technically and economically feasible to reach 90% clean electricity by 2035 without building any new gas plants and reducing generation from existing plants by 70%, all without any increase in wholesale power costs compared to today.

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Columbus Dispatch LTE: Administration’s rollbacks could lead to environmental crisis

As our community faces a pandemic, the federal administration is exacerbating another public crisis. In August, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed eliminating federal regulation of methane, regulations which require regular monitoring for methane leaks and repairs.

In March, the EPA ceased oversight of industry emissions of any kind, citing the pandemic. The EPA will instead allow companies to regulate themselves for the indefinite future.

Ohio has a particular interest in the proposed methane-regulation rollback. Methane is the main gas emitted in natural gas extraction, and, according to IHS Markit, the Ohio Valley is expected to supply nearly half of the country’s natural gas by 2040. The Environmental Defense Fund found that the proposed rollbacks would lead to an additional 5 million metric tons of methane pollution, a contributor to climate change, each year.

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Colorado Politics Op-ed: Emissions reduction must start now

Everyone knows how important air and breathing is to human well-being. The elements for healthy life are straightforward: access to air to breathe and the quality of that air. Many of us in Colorado are denied access to quality, clean air.

The state legislature in 2019 passed two bills affecting air quality: SB19-181 and HB19-1261. SB19-181 in its first revised section addresses maximum reduction of emissions of methane and other hydrocarbons, volatile organic compounds, and oxides of nitrogen from oil and gas exploration and production facilities and natural gas processing. HB19-1261 declares that the policy of the state is to achieve the maximum practical degree of air purity in every portion of the state and to prevent deterioration of air quality. Both bills address the impact of emissions on climate change.

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Santa Fe New Mexican Op-ed: Strong clean air rules will protect the public

Health Action New Mexico and the New Mexico Public Health Association work to protect the health of New Mexico families, and we applaud Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s leadership and response to the coronavirus pandemic. She brings an informed public health perspective to her job and makes the tough decisions needed to protect the health of all New Mexicans.

The governor brings that same commitment to the fight against air pollution and climate change, and this week marks an important milepost in the state’s effort to reduce methane waste and pollution. On Tuesday, the state conducted the final public meeting on the Methane Advisory Panel technical working group, a key forum to bring stakeholders together and allow everyone to be heard. The governor and her environmental and natural resource agencies are right to stay the course in enacting nationally leading state ozone and methane rules this year.

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Athens News LTE: Court decision against fracking in Wayne forest worth applauding

This month, a victory for all Ohioans was achieved when a U.S. federal judge ruled to halt fracking in the Wayne National Forest, Ohio’s only national forest land. The ruling declared that the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management failed to take into account the negative impacts on the region’s air quality, species and watersheds when over 40,000 acres were opened to fracking.

The Wayne National Forest is one of Ohio’s recreational treasures, and the news is a win for all who enjoy this land. Yet despite this good news, the oil and gas industry continues to remain a risk to air quality for the rest of the state and country. The oil and gas industry is the nation’s primary source of methane, the main component of natural gas. Methane and other co-released pollutants pose a significant threat to climate and health.

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Santa Fe New Mexican Op-ed: N.M. needs to prioritize public health

This is a tough time for New Mexican families as schools and businesses close, travel is curtailed and social interaction is limited due to the coronavirus pandemic. During this crisis, I feel fortunate to have the leadership of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, because of her swift response to protect our health.

The governor’s commitment to public health runs deep. Before coronavirus was a household word, she had been working on proposed rules to clean up harmful oil and gas air pollution that contributes to climate change and harms the health of our families.

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Bucks County Courier Times Op-ed: EPA’s methane rules rollback agenda stinks

The recent rollbacks of methane rules by the EPA and Administrator Andrew Wheeler is both reckless regarding the health of the nation — and by extension the world — and a blatant illustration of government pandering to specific industries rather than being the watchdog of the nation.

Methane is a particularly toxic form of emission, 87 times more toxic than carbon dioxide and is already, today, responsible for approximately 25% of all emissions. If this isn’t enough, known carcinogens like Volatile Organic Compounds and benzene get spewed along with the methane itself. Does anyone need to be told how damaging this is to the lungs of all living creatures, but especially the young and the old?

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