In the viewpoint published on March 17th Dr. Robert Chase presents a false choice between the economic benefits of oil and gas development and clean air protections for Ohio communities. The truth is that we can both encourage a more responsible energy industry and protect our air.
As a recreation-business owner and resident of Utah, I’ve spent significant time exploring the beautiful public lands our state has to offer. Many of my fondest memories come from times I’ve spent with friends and loved ones exploring our state’s pristine public lands. That’s why I opened my business, Poison Spider Bicycles, in Moab — to help others enjoy the beauty of Utah just as I have.
Before leaving office, President Obama instituted a rule limiting the oil and gas industry’s wasting of natural gas on public and tribal lands. The standard, formally known as the Methane Waste Prevention Rule, was a set of commonsense updates – such as requiring companies to detect and fix leaky equipment – projected to bring in an additional $23 million annually in royalties to states, tribes and federal taxpayers, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to taking 950,000 cars off the road.
About three weeks ago, a natural gas well exploded and caught fire in southeastern Ohio’s Belmont County. According to a report from the Associated Press, the newly drilled well was being readied for production for XTO Energy when an incident occurred — a plume of gas and brine rising into the air before igniting.
As a nurse, I recognize the important role that clean air, clean water, and a clean environment have in protecting the health of all Americans. My nurse colleagues and I look to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to follow its mission of protecting public health and the environment.
Recently, the EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt acknowledged that methane pollution is a potent greenhouse gas. Unfortunately, his actions over the course of the last year have sharply contradicted his newfound recognition of this problem.
If not for a one-year delay put in place by the current administration, the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Methane and Waste Prevention rule would have gone into effect last week. The rule should have provided greater protections for taxpayers and reduced waste by increasing the capture and sale of natural gas from public lands. Instead, BLM is allowing industry to continue wasteful practices that are within its power to prevent – at taxpayers’ expense.
If not for a one-year delay put in place by Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) methane waste prevention rule would have gone into effect this week. The rule should have provided greater protections for taxpayers across the country, including Montanans, and reduced waste by increasing the capture and sale of natural gas from public lands. Instead, the Interior Department is allowing industry to continue wasteful practices that are within its power to prevent — at taxpayers’ expense.
Eleven months into the Trump administration, it’s worth seriously pondering the question: Does Donald Trump have something against clean air? Did a smogless day insult his mother, and now he’s out for revenge? It seems silly, but it’s hard not to wonder when the Trump administration seems so determined to roll back every bit of progress the Obama administration made when it comes to reducing air pollution and hopefully slowing down the rate of global warming.
(OK, it’s probably that Trump just hates Obama that much.)
To paraphrase Barry Goldwater, a million here, several tens of thousands of dollars there and pretty soon you’re talking about real money.
Much has been written in recent weeks about cabinet secretaries’ profligate use of charter aircraft at the taxpayers’ expense. While Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price racked up almost a million dollars in flights this year — a revelation that led to his abrupt resignation — other Trump administration officials including Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt have also been racking up the miles.
Zinke’s more than $12,000 charge for a charter flight home to Montana and Pruitt’s $58,000 in private and military flights should rightly raise the hackles of taxpayers.