This was written by Patrice Tomcik, Moms Clean Air Force’s National Oil and Gas Program Coordinator:
My sons go to school half a mile from a natural gas well pad. In their school district, they have five other well pads along with pipelines that feed into the vast spider’s web of pipelines that crisscross the nation.
Natural gas air pollution includes harmful methane and toxic chemicals like benzene, which has been linked to childhood leukemia. That keeps me up at night. You see, my son had leukemia when he was 3 years old (before natural gas operations came to town). He has a much greater chance of having cancer again than the general population. As a mother, I try so hard to keep him healthy so the cancer doesn’t come back.
However, I can’t control the air my son breathes. I depend on our leaders to protect him, just as moms across the country do also. Unfortunately, the federal government is working to stall and revoke vital methane pollution standards that protect children from the oil and gas industry’s harmful air pollution.
Last year, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) made progress toward curbing this pollution, by finalizing the Natural Gas Waste Prevention Rule. But now, Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke wants to delay standards for two years, allowing the oil and gas industry to recklessly leak methane and toxic chemicals into the air — putting our children at greater risk for asthma attacks and cancer.
As the mom of a cancer survivor, I just can’t accept that.
Throughout the country, families and communities like mine are being impacted by natural gas industry pollution. Where natural gas is being drilled, compressed, and sent through pipelines, you will find methane leaking along with dangerous co-pollutants. My sons are among the millions of children who go to school near oil and gas operations.
With so many children living, playing, and learning in close proximity to oil and gas production, it is unconscionable that our leaders want to stall and revoke standards that protect our children from this industrial pollution. Moms want to see these standards implemented, not ignored. We have until November 6 to make our voices heard on this issue.
We need standards in place to protect our children from methane and the toxic co-pollutants from the oil and gas industry.