Status of Tribal Air Report (STAR) 2021

The National Tribal Air Association’s STAR is an annual publication intended to provide an understanding of the importance and impact of Tribal air programs. Nationally vetted Tribal needs, priorities, and recommendations are all outlined, and the successes and challenges experienced by the environmental professionals are highlighted by way of personal narratives submitted by the Tribes themselves. A budget analysis appendix is included in each edition of the STAR, and over the years a variety of other appendices have served to underscore important and relevant topics.

This report provides national leadership with recommendations on how to improve air quality in and around Tribal communities while detailing the successes and challenges of Tribal Air Quality Programs and the connections between air pollution, public health, and Tribes.  There are many references to oil and gas development and additional valuable information.

>> Read the report here.

Times Leader LTE: Elected officials should stand against fossil fuels

It was an honor to testify before the House Subcommittee on the Environment on the role of federal fossil fuel subsidies in preventing action on the climate crisis. However, I was disappointed by the response from state and local government leaders who I believe misrepresented the issue, citing research published by the oil and gas industry to back up false claims of economic growth and “clean” emissions.

In a recent news article, state Sen.Frank Hoagland, R-Mingo Junction, stated: “Far left attempts to vilify the significant economic opportunities brought by the oil and gas industry are patently false …” This argument is futile, as the statistics mentioned in my testimony came directly from the Bureau of Labor Statics and Bureau of Economics. It is the irrefutable truth, based on governmental data, that Appalachian fracking counties have lost 6,500 jobs and 13,000 residents since the fracking boom began.

>> Read more

Go Erie: Methane gas is no laughing matter

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez deserved the criticism she took after the February 2019 rollout of her Green New Deal included an FAQ that referenced “farting cows”.

Explaining why the plan’s 10-year goal was to get to “net-zero, rather than zero emissions”, the FAQ noted, probably in an attempt at humor, that “we aren’t sure that we’ll be able to fully get rid of farting cows and airplanes that fast…”

The statement was a gift to conservatives and AOC’s political opponents who wanted nothing more than to paint the Green New Deal as the half-baked concoction of some far-left radicals.

The right leveraged “farting cows” to spin the Green New Deal into a punchline and sow fear that the left had it in for the agricultural and transportation industries. For her part, Ocasio-Cortez got more subsequent attention for containing the flatulent fallout than she did for espousing the Green New Deal’s smart and worth-considering proposals.

>> Read more

Global Methane Assessment: Benefits & Costs of Mitigating Methane Emissions

The Global Methane Assessment shows that human-caused methane emissions can be reduced by up to 45 per cent this decade. Such reductions would avoid nearly 0.3°C of global warming by 2045 and would be consistent with keeping the Paris Climate Agreement’s goal to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius (1.5˚C) within reach.

The assessment, for the first time, integrates the climate and air pollution costs and benefits from methane mitigation. Because methane is a key ingredient in the formation of ground-level ozone (smog), a powerful climate forcer and dangerous air pollutant, a 45 per cent reduction would prevent 260 000 premature deaths, 775 000 asthma-related hospital visits, 73 billion hours of lost labour from extreme heat, and 25 million tonnes of crop losses annually.

Download a PDF of the report, here.