By: Hazel Chandler, Arizona state coordinator, Moms Clean Air Force
Date: January 11, 2023
About: Environmental Protection Agency Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2021-0317
To: Environmental Protection Agency
Thank you for the opportunity to testify. My name is Hazel Chandler, and I am a state coordinator with Moms Clean Air Force in Arizona. I am a mother, grandmother, and recently a great grandmother who has witnessed firsthand the impacts of air quality issues and climate change on my health and the health of the children in our state.
For over 50 years, I have advocated for the environment, clean air, and action to prevent climate warming. Today, I am petrified at what I see and hear regarding the world that my children and grandchildren are living in. Every day, the impacts of climate change and air pollution impact my quality of life. I watch as extreme heat, poor air quality, lack of water, and extreme wildfires threaten to make my beloved state of Arizona more unlivable. Add to that the compounding health issues faced by the residents across Arizona, especially our children and older people.
I personally struggle with chronic respiratory issues, decreased lung function, asthma, and cancer. I shudder to think what life in Arizona will be like when my great granddaughter goes to high school. Air quality and climate change have taken a collective toll on my health from living in polluted cities for over 50 years. I shudder to think of the collective impacts when our children reach adulthood.
Scientists tell us that we are in a “Code Red” situation and our planet is fast approaching a tipping point that will make climate chaos irreversible if we keep our foot on the accelerator.
We have an opportunity to take strong action to limit greenhouse gas emission into the atmosphere. Methane has more than 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide in the first 20 years after its release into the atmosphere. This means that methane can do a lot of damage in a short amount of time by accelerating climate change. When we reduce methane, we reduce warming fast. This means cutting methane emissions is an urgent priority in slowing down the rate of climate warming. Strong methane regulations is a significant way that we can take our foot off of the accelerator.
I would like to thank EPA for improvements to the original draft rule released in 2021 in regard to issues identified by climate, public health, and environmental justice advocates, but we need to go further. Here are a few specific areas of improvement we would like to see in the final rule:
- Ensuring that operators at wells capture associated gas and limit flaring (burning of gas) only to instances where it is necessary for safety or maintenance reasons;
- Strengthening the standards to address emissions from storage tanks by making the standards applicable to more tanks; and
- Providing a clear pathway for communities and individuals to participate and engage in the Super-Emitter Response Program, which is designed to quickly address very large leaks from the oil and gas industry by ensuring that approved monitoring technologies and data are accessible to all.
We do not have a minute to waste. We need the strongest possible methane safeguards finalized without delay. The good news is that we have the technology to reduce methane admissions now and the solutions are straightforward and cost effective. It is as simple as fixing pipe leaks at oil and gas wells or closing lids on leaking tanks.
The decision that you make today will impact the quality of life and health of everyone in this country. Let’s take our foot off the accelerator and allow my precious Ava and all our children to have a livable future. Please approve the strongest methane regulations without delay.