By: Carissa Sipp, Arizona Supermom, Moms Clean Air Force
Date: January 12, 2023
About: Environmental Protection Agency Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2021-0317
To: Environmental Protection Agency
Thank you for the chance to speak today. My name is Carissa Sipp. I am a volunteer with Moms Clean Air Force. I am from Tucson, Arizona. I fully support EPA’s updated rule to cut methane and other harmful pollutants from oil and gas operations across the country. This is a critical step forward to addressing the climate crisis we are in. From major storms to drought to elimination of biodiversity we are at a crossing point and time to act can no longer be pushed down the road. This updated rule will not only be crucial to moving forward toward addressing some of the climate crises causes BUT also help protect the health and safety of future generations. Families and children will benefit from this change and it is needed NOW.
A strong methane rule is important to me as an individual, as a mom, and as a community member. My youngest has asthma, and my oldest has a leaky valve condition with her heart. I am an asthmatic and have AFIB. AFIB is Atrial Fibrillation, which is a quivering or irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure, and other heart-related complications, and individuals with AFIB are particularly sensitive to pollution, including VOCs. This exposure leads to increase incidence of stroke. Increased concentrations of harmful VOCs from oil and gas operations AND petroleum storage tanks specifically have impacted my family heavily. We have lived in a variety of geographical areas from East Coast to West Coast, North to South, and the impact of these pollutants ranges from increased illness, specifically in the lungs (bronchitis), higher asthmatic attacks, more extreme headaches after being outside, and heavier need for medication. We have endured a higher number of AFIB and asthmatic attacks when walking and biking through and by neighborhoods and roadways with storage tanks and/or oil and gas production. This is not OK. Polluters need to be held accountable and prohibited from polluting for profit at the expense of its residents.
In addition to our personal health issues with exposure to higher VOC concentration, we know that higher VOCs in the air causes cancer and cancer clusters. The world has a wealth of data to back this up over decades. The big polluters and sources are known. We the people need EPA to hold companies accountable. Our children and their children will never be able to enjoy the life previous generations enjoyed without protections now.
In summary, I encourage EPA to move forward in closing leak detection loopholes, requiring zero-emitting pneumatic controllers and pumps, holding equipment to higher standards, and requiring more inspections on ALL wells. IN addition, please stop routine flaring. Burning off gas because it is easier shouldn’t be OK as it impacts the quality of life. Please consider requiring alternative and less wasteful ways to use this gas as utilized in New Mexico and Colorado and eliminate routine flaring now. Standards for storage tanks also should also be addressed. Stop routine flaring, stop super emitters, and monitor ALL wells.
I want to reiterate my vigorous support for the proposed EPA methane rules today. I urge you to move quickly to finalize the strongest and most comprehensive methane rules to protect children’s health from all sources of oil and gas methane pollution.