Statement by Rev. Mitch Hescox:
Today the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released standards for methane pollution from new sources in the oil and gas industry. EPA also released a draft regulation requiring detailed reporting of emissions from existing sources.
We at the Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN) applaud this positive leadership from the EPA on reducing methane pollution from new sources and the reporting requirements for existing sources. Nearly 92,000 individual pro-life Christians primarily from Colorado, New Mexico, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, have called for the reduction of methane pollution from both new and existing sources.
Tackling new sources and reporting on existing sources are necessary steps in the regulatory process. However, the job won’t be done until existing sources are also regulated. That’s why we also appreciated the commitment President Obama made recently with Prime Minister Trudeau to tackle existing sources with all deliberate speed. We hope that even more can be done on existing sources before the close of the Obama Administration.
One state that is leading the way is Colorado, which has the best methane regulations in the country. We are grateful that the industry itself has been generally supportive, with a new study finding that over 1,000 inspections discovered and then repaired over 800 leaks, saving money in the process. Colorado’s success can serve as a model to the country.
We are engaged in this fight to reduce methane pollution because as pro-life evangelicals, we have a special concern for the unborn. We want children to be born healthy and unhindered by the ravages of pollution even before they take their first breadth. Studies have shown that smog, VOCs, and air toxics have a disproportionate impact upon life in the womb. Leaks in our natural gas infrastructure spew out smog precursors, as well as other toxic pollutants and cancer-causing agents like benzene.
We also want the unborn and those yet to be born to have a world free of dangerous climate change. Yet today from our natural gas infrastructure large amounts of methane are being released, a climate pollutant 86 times stronger than carbon dioxide at trapping heat over a 20-year timeframe. And it is what we do over the next 20 years that will determine whether our struggle to overcome climate change will be won or lost. That is why reducing methane is morally strategic.