The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is on pace to propose new standards for methane and other volatile organic compound (VOC) pollution from oil and gas facilities by September 2021. Next month, Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., will attempt to use the 1996 Congressional Review Act to undo the Trump administration’s reckless dismantling of the 2016 New Source Performance Standards for oil and gas facilities. This was the first ever federal standard for methane and volatile organic compound leakage from new oil and gas facilities.
Now is the time to make sure that Pennsylvania residents and workers are protected from the oil and gas industry and receive needed government funding to expand renewable energy and increase resilience to the increasing effects of climate change.
The Biden administration has committed to propose new standards for methane and volatile organic compound leakage from new and existing oil and gas facilities by September. The administration has also raised the social cost of carbon to $51 a ton compared with the Trump administration’s low of $1. The Methane Emissions Reduction Act has been proposed in the Senate to establish a fee system starting at $1,800 per ton of methane from the oil and gas industry to benefit the National Coastal Resilience Fund or the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
Ohio has experienced more than 18,000 deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic and continually feels the ripples of police violence through the deaths of Casey Goodson Jr., Julius Tate and Andre Hill in our state capital — all while the pervasive threat of climate change still looms over the planet.
For some, this past year has highlighted extreme vulnerabilities in our economic, political and social systems. For others in marginalized communities, the disproportionate impact of social and environmental inequities and inequalities are part of everyday life.
I am a resident of New Mexico for many reasons. Access to our incredible public lands is at the top of that list. I live a quick and winding drive down the road from the Santa Fe National Forest. This past year, it was impossible to escape the summer’s 28 days of smoke from the Medio Fire that ravaged some of my favorite places to recreate. Unfortunately, these fires will become more and more common if we don’t start actively addressing climate change. As a resident of Santa Fe and an owner of an outdoor recreation business, I feel a responsibility to demand our state government address the methane problem that is severely damaging the air we breathe and the public lands that make this home so special.
To keep New Mexico’s air clean and protect the outdoor recreation businesses that are core to the New Mexican economy, we need strong rules to reduce air and climate pollution. As we all dig out of the current economic crisis, it’s more important now than ever to maintain New Mexico’s iconic outdoor brand and continue to grow clean jobs in our outdoor recreation industry.
As you may already know, New Mexico has a methane waste and oil and gas air pollution problem. Methane is a powerful climate change pollutant responsible for 25% of the warming we experience today, and New Mexico is a primary source of our nation’s methane pollution. While we work to promote our unique cultural heritage along with our climbing, hiking, biking, fishing, skiing and rafting – along with many other outstanding outdoor activities – New Mexico also is increasingly known as the nation’s leading methane hot spot.
Ohio is no stranger to oil and gas drilling, as we have more than 58,000 active oil and gas wells.
In late January, the Biden Administration implemented an executive order that paused oil and gas leasing on federal lands. However, suspending leasing does not address the current well sites that are actively leaking methane. Methane is a greenhouse gas that is 80 times as potent as carbon dioxide, meaning it contributes significantly to global warming in the short-term.
That’s the chilling conclusion reached by a new peer-reviewed study from Harvard University and University College London. Researchers found that more than 8.7 million people around the world died from exposure to particulate matter from fossil fuel emissions in 2018.
The findings bring new understanding and urgency to the immediate global health threat caused by climate change and our world’s continued reliance on high-polluting fossil fuels.
As Pennsylvania and New Jersey residents, we thank the governors of the Delaware River Basin Compact for voting on Feb. 25 to ban hydraulic fracking permanently from the Delaware Valley — a great boost to the public’s enjoyment of the scenic beauty of the Delaware River, protection of water quality for 17 million people and the river’s future for tourism and commerce.
This vote represents the culmination of a decade’s work by dedicated Americans who oppose fracking as a danger to the river, and our states. However, President Biden’s representative abstained. We wonder why.
Natural gas, methane, is many times more warming of the Earth than even CO2. Avoiding methane prevents a worse climate crisis than we already have.
Last month’s polar vortex and other extreme weather events from the past year in Iowa and nationally have shown us the risks of continuing to rely on fossil fuels. As fuel lines froze, large volumes of gas and coal power plants were not able to operate during extreme cold putting millions at risk. Massive power outages caused millions of people, from here in Iowa down to Texas, to survive against the raw elements.
Some suffered and died due to hypothermia, carbon monoxide poisoning, or fires caused by burning their own belongings for warmth. While some renewables were also forced offline, clean energy was largely more reliable than fossil fuels during this crisis.