By: Ida Sami, Arizona state coordinator, Moms Clean Air Force
Date: January 12, 2023
About: Environmental Protection Agency Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2021-0317
To: Environmental Protection Agency
Hi, my name is Ida Sami, a resident of Tucson, AZ, and I serve as an Arizona state coordinator for Moms Clean Air Force. I'm here to provide my support for EPA’s updated rule to cut methane and other harmful pollutants from oil and gas operations in order to protect public health. I have worked in the area of climate change for more than 10 years, and I hold a PhD in Environmental Science. As someone who has dedicated my career to understanding and addressing the complex challenges posed by climate change, I am deeply concerned about the impact that methane gas and other air pollutants from oil and gas operations can have on the well-being of our most vulnerable populations.
Methane gas produced by the oil and gas industries is a strong contributor to global warming and is damaging the earth's climate. Extreme heat and drought are two effects of climate change that we are seeing in Arizona. This can lead to more frequent and severe heat waves, which can cause heat-related illnesses and deaths.
Wherever methane is emitting, you can also find volatile organic compounds that can cause a variety of health issues. Eye, nose, throat, and lung irritation; headaches, dizziness, nausea, and tiredness are the most common health problems caused by methane pollution. This air pollution is harming the health of millions of people living near and far. Air pollution can travel long distances and harm people's health but the communities that live near oil and gas operations are exposed to higher levels of harmful air pollution that puts their health at risk.
Long-term exposure to oil and gas air pollution can increase the risk of certain diseases, including asthma, cancer, and heart disease. Additionally, oil and gas pollution has been linked to an increased risk of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's disease. Scientists have known for decades that air pollution is harmful to health, and this is especially true for vulnerable populations such as older adults, people with underlying health conditions, communities of color, pregnant women, and children. Also, due to equity factors such as redlining and economic inequality, certain groups—including children, women, the elderly, and outdoor workers—are at a higher risk of suffering the negative impacts of climate hazards. Air pollution from oil and gas also adds to pollution problems in underserved, low-income areas. This makes inequalities worse and puts families at a higher risk of serious health problems.
Reducing methane emissions today will help clean up the air and protect human health and the climate. EPA has an important role to play in making sure that these protections are put in place and followed so that our communities, children, and the environment will be safe in the future. Together, we can make positive changes and make sure that our health and well-being are safe from the dangers of methane pollution.