As a mother who lies awake at night worrying about global warming and our children, I’m supporting everything that can be done — here and now — to end the pollution causing it. That includes President Obama’s ambitious Clean Power Plan to cut carbon. We must get that enacted.
But we are missing an essential counterpart to the plan to cut carbon emissions. How can we attack carbon pollution without also cutting pollution from oil and gas development?
We have a climate cancer diagnosis here. No responsible doctor would decide to remove only one tumor — and ignore the rest. And yet, that’s the situation we face: Cutting out only the carbon. Leaving the methane to metastasize.
To protect our families, we need to eliminate a dangerous loophole. We need strong, protective methane regulations — required, not voluntary cuts — to complement the carbon protections of the Clean Power Plan. These two efforts should be twinned.
Methane is the primary component of natural gas. It is an extremely powerful greenhouse gas, forcing the planet to get warmer—it is much more dangerous, in the short run, than carbon pollution. Methane escapes into the air through many stages of oil and gas development.
And methane isn’t the only problem with oil and gas development. Families around the country are suffering from the noxious poisons that are part of the oil and gas development process: we are being hit with dangerously high concentrations of smog-forming volatile organic compounds and toxic benzene. Those poisons don’t belong in our air — and methane protections will help keep them out.
We want to be using as much clean, renewable energy as we can, and as fast as possible. Across the country there is exciting progress on this front. But let’s get real. We are living with huge amounts of oil and gas development right now. Countless well pads and pipelines and compressor stations are leaking methane and other toxic pollutants into the air right now. We cannot wish that away. Communities can ban fracking wherever possible — but we cannot ignore those already suffering from oil and gas development.
Let’s get this job done. Voluntary cuts by power companies? Those will never be strong enough for keep our families safe.
Please: Take the time to sign 2 petitions: Tell President Obama: Close the Loophole. We need strong EPA methane protections in place. And let EPA know we are counting on methane protections.
President Obama, EPA Administrator McCarthy: You have a unique chance to leave a powerful legacy, one that changes the course of human history. Parents worldwide are hoping you come through for us.
Photo: Ted Fink Photography