Laalitha Surapaneni, MD, MPH 443-525-8774
Barbara Gottlieb 202-587-5225
Washington, D.C.—In the face of the Trump administration’s efforts to promote the use and export of fracked or so-called “natural” gas, Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) has released a white paper detailing the ways that gas processed for export endangers human health and lives.
Just a week after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission gave the green light to new LNG export facilities, PSR issued “Climate and Health Risks of Liquified Natural Gas.” The report examines the entire life cycle of LNG and documents such threats as contamination arising from the extraction process; leaks of methane and hazardous air toxics from wells and pipelines; pollution resulting from the liquefaction process itself, and risks of fire and explosion.
The white paper also voices concern for environmental justice. Many LNG export facilities are located in areas already plagued by dangerous levels of pollution from energy and industrial facilities, often in or adjacent to low-income communities or communities of color.
“With LNG projects, we are locking ourselves into fossil fuel infrastructure that will heat up our planet and impose a human health cost,” stated Laalitha Surapaneni, MD, MPH, lead author of the report and a member of Physicians for Social Responsibility.
“Our current climate crisis is a health emergency,” she added. “The actions we take now by extracting, transporting and liquefying fracked gas will determine the health of generations to come. It is unconscionable that we continue to subject our communities to these risks when we have the technology to make a just transition to renewable energy.
“We have a unique opportunity to shape a world that is healthy and equitable by moving away from fossil fuels.”
Dr. Surapaneni is an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota in the general internal medicine department.
The 10-page report is based on scientific sources and is thoroughly footnoted. The report was coauthored by Zachary Morse and is part of PSR’s series of reports on the health threats associated with the use of fossil fuels.