Contact: Mollie Michel, email@example.com, 267-981-1648
Pittsburgh, PA – Today in Pittsburgh, PA, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler plans to announce a major rollback of the EPA methane rule that protects families and communities from harmful air pollution. This rollback would allow the oil and gas industry to release millions of tons of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, and other harmful pollutants, such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), into the air our families breathe, posing a serious threat to public health and making the climate crisis worse. Today’s move flouts EPA’s core mission to protect public health and the environment.
“You can find methane and toxic volatile organic compounds leaking everywhere oil and gas is drilled, compressed, and processed. These leaks put the health of families like mine at risk,” said Vanessa Lynch, mother of two children and Moms Clean Air Force Field Organizer living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. “In my township, a well pad with 8 gas wells has been fracked in a populated residential area, which basically means there are houses, children, parks, daycare centers, assisted living facilities, and schools located nearby. As a result, I’m concerned about how oil and gas air pollution will impact the health of my family and community.
“Not only does oil and gas pollution harm public health, it also contributes to climate change. As the second largest producer of natural gas in the nation and the third largest greenhouse-gas-polluting state, Pennsylvania clearly has an outsize contribution to methane pollution.
“Pennsylvanians are seeing the impacts of climate change today with more severe storms, increased flooding, extreme heat, and increases in vector-borne diseases such as Lyme disease. The EPA should be following the lead of states like Pennsylvania under Governor Tom Wolf and stepping up to enact protective methane rules. We ask that EPA Administrator Wheeler do his job and protect the health of our children from methane pollution and climate change under the Clean Air Act.”
A recent analysis estimated Pennsylvania’s oil and gas operators emit more than 16 times the methane they report to the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), or more than 1.1 million tons annually. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas more than 80 times more powerful than carbon dioxide in the near term.