By: Roishetta Ozane, Louisiana 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
Thank you for the opportunity to speak today. My name is Roishetta Ozane, and I am a state coordinator for Moms Clean Air Force living in Sulphur, Louisiana. As a mother living with oil and gas operations, I support a comprehensive EPA rule to cut methane from oil and gas operations.
Though my town, Sulphur, is spelled differently than the chemical element sulfur, they are one and the same. My town sits in the middle of a massive petrochemical complex and near several oil and gas operations, but its name came from being the home of Sulfur mining more than a century ago. I did not grow up here, and I didn’t pick this place to live. It chose me. After losing everything to Hurricanes Laura and Delta in 2020, my six children and I were forced to live in a FEMA trailer. The trailer was located in Sulphur. The home I was living in previously did not belong to me; I was renting it. Because I was a renter, I had no say in how soon the home would be reconstructed and livable. My children and I lived in the FEMA trailer for two years. When our time in the FEMA trailer was nearing its end, I had to find somewhere for us to go. There were no affordable homes that would accommodate all seven of us in my previous town of Westlake; therefore, I looked for a home in Sulphur. I found a four-bedroom home for my family and became a first-time homeowner, but I do believe that part of the reason I found this home at the price is because of the industry that surrounds this area.
I am very concerned about raising my children here because of the toxins released by these industries, including methane and the associated gases. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas pollutant that is fueling the climate crisis and is responsible for 25% of the manmade global warming we are experiencing.
There are eight LNG export terminals currently in existence across the United States. Today, eight more are being proposed in or near my community, and more than 20 are being proposed throughout the Gulf Coast. At a time when even leading global energy agencies say we need to end all new fossil fuel expansion, these projects are beyond reckless. Almost 3,000 people in Calcasieu Parish live within a half mile of active oil and gas operations. That’s approximately 30% of the population. Many neighbors and people throughout my region are still living in trailers next to their homes, repairing damage from hurricanes two and three years ago.
These industries are not just a threat to the climate. These manmade disasters continue to pump out massive amounts of pollution. They refuse to give my community a fighting chance to breathe clean air and drink clean water. Environmental justice (EJ) communities like mine have experienced a legacy of health disparities for generations. Black, brown, Indigenous, and low-income people in communities where these projects are overwhelmingly located shoulder the disproportionate burden of pollution from fossil fuel infrastructure.
While I support the proposed EPA methane rules, I urge EPA to finalize the strongest and most comprehensive rules to cut oil and gas methane pollution. The continued expansion of oil and gas, including LNG, stifles renewable solutions like offshore wind—which can create real opportunities for Louisianans and EJ communities everywhere. It is the mandate of EPA to protect people and the environment from significant health risks. Air pollution from oil and gas operations contributes to significant health impacts to our most vulnerable populations, including our children. I will not accept this as an outcome for my family, for my city, region or for our collective climate. Please take action now to cut methane and protect our communities.
Enough is enough.