Today, the Senate votes to use the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to reinstate regulations that would limit potent greenhouse gas emissions from oil and gas operations. Reinstating regulations of methane, one of the most potent greenhouse gases, will help clean up our air, protect children’s health, and stabilize our climate.
Moms Clean Air Force’s public health policy director, Molly Rauch, and members of the Moms team, joined Senators Chuck Schumer, Martin Heinrich, Angus King and Ed Markey this morning to add support for the methane CRA.
Here are a few highlights from the Senate press conference with Molly’s full remarks below:
“Today the senate is going to take the first – just the first – of many important steps to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030.” Senator Schumer called the CRA a “big deal” in fighting climate change.
Sen. Angus King pointed out the urgency, “This is the most important climate vote that the Senate has had, maybe ever…Regulating methane is the low hanging fruit of climate action. It is the simplest, most straightforward thing we can to do reduce greenhouse gases.”
“While we have made progress, methane pollution has continued to surge…if we’re going to put out the fire our climate crisis, we have to stop lighting the matches of methane pollution,” Sen. Ed Markey stated.
“If we can fix our methane problem, we can quickly turn down the climate-warming impacts…This should be a no brainer for every single member of the United States Senate,” said Sen. Martin Heinrich.
MOMS CLEAN AIR FORCE’S MOLLY RAUCH’S PASSIONATE REMARKS
“I am the public health and policy director for Moms Clean Air Force, an organization of over a million moms and dads fighting to protect clean air for the sake of our children’s health.
This is a critical day in the Senate. The methane CRA resolution is a major step toward reinstating vital clean air and climate protections. Make no mistake: This is a vote on our children’s health, and a vote on their future.
Methane is a potent climate pollutant. Methane is accelerating climate change, and it’s leaking from the oil and gas sector at the rate of more than 16 million metric tons a year – the equivalent of the climate pollution from all of the nation’s passenger vehicles in a year.
Climate change is a health crisis – not in some distant future, but right now, when extreme storms can trigger massive power outages; when smoke from record-breaking wildfires can poison the air for millions across the West; when severe heat waves regularly threaten public health, preying especially on older adults, pregnant women, and low-income communities. We need methane standards back in place now, to reduce dangerous climate pollution.
But this isn’t just a climate problem. Pollution emitted alongside methane, such as benzene, increases the risk of cancer, immune system damage, neurological and developmental problems, low birth weight babies, preterm birth, and birth defects. One in three people in the U.S. lives in a county with oil and gas production, and over 17 million live within a mile of active oil and gas wells.
Methane and other oil and gas pollutants also contribute to ground level ozone, or smog. Smog is a lung irritant that triggers asthma attacks and increases lung infections. The Methane CRA will help us achieve commonsense pollution protections to reduce these health risks.
And these risks are not equally distributed. Black, Indigenous, and Latino communities are disproportionately exposed to dirty air, including harmful pollution from oil and gas. We need environmental justice. We need climate justice.
Every child has the right to breathe clean air, and the right to a stable climate.
In my work with Moms, I bear witness to the real-life human health impacts of pollution from the oil and gas industry in communities across the country. For example, Patrice Tomcik’s children go to school in Southwestern Pennsylvania near gas wells located about a half mile away from their campus. She worries about the harmful air pollutants her children may be exposed to from these gas wells when they attend school or play outdoor sports, especially her youngest, who is a cancer survivor and immune-compromised.
Parents can’t control the air our children breathe; we depend on our leaders in Congress to do their jobs and protect our children. Today the Senate has the chance to do just that. Moms and dads want climate action, and we want our leaders to stand up for our children’s health.”