Reducing methane in our air is one of the many steps we need to take to protect the health of our children and slow climate change. On September 29th, I had an opportunity to join hundreds of others to ask the EPA to approve the methane standards proposed by the Obama administration last summer. These standards would require the oil and gas industry to action to be held responsible for new wells and distribution sites.
I listened to moms, college students, lawyers, advocates, priests and environmentalists, speak in favor of these stronger methane standards. In the years I’ve worked with Moms Clean Air Force, I have come to discover that although politics and pundits would like to tell us otherwise, our health transcends party lines and gender, age, religion cease to matter. Instead, the issues that are often labeled as partisan, can serve to unite us in our humanity and core desire for health and well-being.
The hearing room was filled with testimonies that outlined just why we need stronger methane standards for new sites, and then the speakers urged strong standards to be set for existing sites. Those testifying were right in their assessment: new sites need regulation and existing sites need regulating because they emit 34 grams of methane per second. In the first 20 years after methane is emitted into the atmosphere, it traps 86 times as much heat as CO2. Even the smallest natural gas leak makes an impact on our climate!
I came to Pittsburgh, PA with the hope that my voice would matter. I watched as EPA representatives nodded their heads, asked questions and thanked each person for their testimony. Most of the people who testified were in agreement with strong methane regulations. A few were not. The EPA representatives seemed to care about the public’s opinion.
As rain poured outside, people in the Federal Building fought for our health and safety. A press conference featuring nurses, students and mothers took place across the street in a conference room. We joined with those in agreement that we need strong methane regulations to protect our health — and we celebrated our rights as Americans to rally for what we believe in.
May our words, our data, our strong voices, and our love for our children, have a lasting impact on the EPA and the lawmakers who represent us to do what is right for the health of all American citizens.