By Barbara Gottlieb
PSR, the American Lung Association, 10 PSR chapters and 15 other health organizations submitted comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) opposing the agency’s proposal to roll back limits on leaks and emissions of methane from oil and gas wells.
The EPA’s proposal would virtually eliminate regulation of methane – an especially potent greenhouse gas – as well as the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that escape into the atmosphere with the methane. Those VOCs include carcinogens, neurotoxins and hazardous air pollutants (HAPs).
The existing limits provide significant protection from these dangerous emissions. The decision to roll them back is a gift to the oil and gas industry and part of EPA’s larger agenda to do away with environmental regulation of many sectors. This effort at wholesale roll-backs increases risks to human health, well-being and life.
The comments were drafted jointly by PSR and the American Lung Association and were co-signed by 25 other entities, including the American Public Health Association, Health Care Without Harm, Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments, as well as Trinity Health and Common Spirit. The latter are two of the largest health systems in the United States.