Times Chronicle & Public Spirit
Reduce methane to cut air pollution
Pennsylvania is obligated to protect the health of its citizens. This is as clear as the air we breathe is not. Pennsylvania is the second largest natural gas producing state and one of the dirtiest in terms of air pollution. The Pennsylvania Department of Health recently concluded that “Air pollution is one of the greatest health challenges in Pennsylvania.”
Methane, leaked by the oil and gas industry, is often accompanied by dangerous volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that form ground-level ozone, known as smog, a pervasive asthma-causing air pollutant. Hotter temperatures from climate change, caused by greenhouse gases like methane, result in increased smog levels. The Biden Administration has committed to proposing new and updated standards for methane and VOC leakage from new and existing oil and gas facilities. The Biden administration has also directed the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), who oversees certification of natural gas pipelines, to consider a proposed fossil fuel pipeline’s contribution to climate change.
We must support efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions like Senator Martin Heinrich’s (D-NM) attempt to reduce methane emissions by undoing the Trump administration’s dismantling of the 2016 New Source Performance Standards for oil and gas facilities to reduce methane emissions. Working together, we can help President Biden achieve his goal of a “100% clean energy economy and net-zero emissions by 2050.” This goal is not only achievable, but crucial if we are to avoid the worst effects of climate change and ensure a healthy, livable planet for generations to come.