EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy has just released regulations that will limit methane emissions from new oil and gas development. Your voices, petitions, letters, phone calls and stories made a huge difference in getting EPA to develop, propose, and finalize this groundbreaking rule, which is the first ever to slash emissions of this potent greenhouse gas.
This rule lays a foundation. It is the beginning of protecting public health from an enormous, and profitable, fracking industry that is leaking methane and other dangerous pollutants into the air in our neighborhoods, playgrounds, and schoolyards.
We have a long way to go: gas and other chemicals are leaking into our air every step of the way, from the drill pad to your stove, from pipelines and compressor station to the old pipes underground that carry gas to our homes for cooking and heating. These existing sources of methane pollution remain untouched under this new rule, and they will continue to account for the vast majority of methane emissions in the coming years. That’s why EPA must slash emissions from the existing sources of this pollution as well, if it wants to truly protect our health and our climate.
So this rule is just a first step, but it is certainly not an easy one. EPA should continue the tough job of fighting the corporate polluters who don’t want to see any public health protections at all. You can be sure that EPA will be facing many court battles.
We must fast-track renewables. But in the meantime, gas continues to provide increasing amounts of energy to our nation, for electricity, for cooking, and for heating.
Some states have banned fracking — New York, for instance — but they continue to be enormous consumers of natural gas. That means families in gas-developing states — like Colorado, Pennsylvania, Ohio — suffer the effects of gas pollution. That’s why we must clean it up.
Victory, in the world of air pollution, seems to come in short breaths of fresh news. That’s just the way it is: one step at a time. But one thing moms have is stamina — and determination. We will keep up the fight against fracking pollution — a fight for climate safety, and a fight for clean air.