For years EEN has been helping pro-life Christians oppose pollution from our natural gas infrastructure, especially methane and volatile organic compounds or VOCs. Why? It’s simple — because they harm human health, especially the unborn. The leaks, venting, and flaring from the natural gas industry spew out smog precursors, as well as other toxic pollutants and cancer-causing agents like benzene. Studies have shown that smog, VOCs, and air toxics have a disproportionate impact upon life in the womb; for those near production sites the emissions have been linked to birth defects, pre-term births, and low-birth-weight babies, who are at greater risk of infant mortality, ADHD and asthma, among other things. In addition, methane is highly potent greenhouse gas, 86 times stronger than CO2 at trapping heat over a 20-year timeframe. This is crucial, because it is the next 10-20 years that will determine whether we keep the world safe from catastrophic climate impacts.
We have had significant success over the years, including helping to support a strong regulation of new sources of pollution by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2016. All our gains are now at serious risk from the Trump Administration.
In its recent proposal to gut the 2016 regulation, the Trump EPA admitted that its reversal would significantly increase dangerous pollution:
- instead of methane decreasing by 510,000 tons by 2025, it would increase by 380,000 tons, for a total of 890,000 tons;
- instead of VOCs decreasing by 210,000 tons, they would increase by 100,000, for a total of 310,000 tons;
- instead of reducing hazardous air pollutants by 3,900 tons, they would increase by 3,800 tons for a total of 7,700 tons.
We must not only protect the regulation of new sources, we must also regulate existing sources of pollution. That’s especially true in light of a recent scientific finding that there was 60% more methane pollution in 2015 than the EPA had estimated.