Times Chronicle & Public Spirit

Reduce methane to cut air pollution

- Richard Cole West Norriton

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.

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