By: Elizabeth Brandt, Field Manager, Moms Clean Air Force
Date: June 15, 2021
About: Environmental Protection Agency Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2021-0295
To: Environmental Protection Agency
Hello, and thank you for listening to my testimony today. My name is Elizabeth Brandt, mom to Natalia and Valencia. I live on the traditional lands of the Anacostan (Nacotchtank) and Piscataway people in the DC area. I am a field manager for Moms Clean Air Force, an organization of more than 1 million parents across America who are taking action against air pollution and climate change. We are motivated by love for our children, and we are asking the EPA to stand strong in protecting their health. We urge this administration to cut oil and gas methane pollution 65% by 2025 (from 2012 levels) to protect children’s health and their future.
Methane, the main ingredient in natural gas, is a powerful greenhouse gas pollutant that is fueling the climate crisis. Methane is responsible for 25% of the man-made global warming we are experiencing today. The oil and gas industry is one of the nation’s largest sources of industrial methane pollution. Oil and gas companies leak and vent methane into the atmosphere when they extract, store, and transport oil and gas throughout the supply chain. Without swift federal action, methane pollution from the oil and gas industry will continue to skyrocket.
In Maryland, where I live, we’re already experiencing the intensifying storms and increased flooding that are a result of climate change. Our urban areas are suffering from extreme heat as 90 degree days occur with increasing regularity. Our coastal communities are low lying, and high tides are becoming a frightening prospect as sea levels rise. To do our part to slow these climate impacts, we simply must cut methane emissions.
Climate change and air pollution pose a particular threat to children, older adults, and pregnant women. America needs to prioritize the health of our people — not the short-term monetary gains that can be netted by oil and gas producers.
One in three people in the US lives in a county with oil and gas production, and over 17 million live within a mile of active oil and gas wells, putting their health at risk. But the risk is not evenly distributed. Black, Indigenous, and Latino communities are disproportionately exposed to dirty air, including harmful pollution from oil and gas operations, because of where they live, learn, work, and play. Oil and gas air pollution adds to the burden of existing pollution problems in underserved, low-income communities, exacerbating inequities and putting families at increased risk of serious health issues. As a social worker, I find this to be unacceptable. The EPA must do all it can to wipe out disproportionate impacts experienced by environmental justice communities.
A 65% reduction in methane pollution from new and existing oil and gas operations is an achievable target. EPA can set us on the path toward this target with a strong and comprehensive methane rule. I implore the administration to boldly lead on methane reductions: America’s children are counting on the EPA to preserve a healthy climate for generations to come.