MANSFIELD, Ohio — Moms Clean Air Force held a press conference Monday to plead with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to mandate federal standards to end industrial methane pollution.
Mansfield Councilman Don Bryant (D) spoke first at the press conference. He said Ohio, as a national producer of oil and natural gas, would benefit from national methane pollution rules.
“We must be mindful that resulting industrial methane leaks are an invisible threat to our public health and our environment,” said Bryant. “We should support strong federal efforts to cut methane so this dangerous pollutant does not remain undetected and unreported.”
Bryant identified the source of industrial methane pollution as leaks and venting from oil and gas wells, pipelines and tanks. He cited 2013 emissions data for Ohio suggests as much as 7,500 metric tons of wasted methane.
“However, four out of five wells in Ohio are not required to report their emissions. So that number may actually be higher,” said Bryant. But there are solutions, he added.
He named the EPA’s voluntary Natural Gas STAR Program as one program that encourages businesses in the oil and natural gas industry to incorporate responsible gas emission practices. According to Bryant, there are only 25 operators who participate in the program, and ones like it.
“With more than 6,000 oil and gas operators across the nation, only uniform standards can achieve comprehensive results … if federal action is not taken, methane pollution from the industry is projected to increase to around 25 percent over the next 10 years,” said Bryant.
“Methane and air pollution know no state boundaries, therefore the United States Environmental Protection Agency should take strong action to limit this industrial waste,” concluded Bryant.
Member of Moms Clean Air Force (MCAF) Laura Burns is a mother from Mansfield. She has participated in MCAF for four years; Monday morning she pleaded with the U.S. EPA to make changes.
“Industrial methane pollution from oil and natural gas harms our children’s health and fuels climate change,” began Burns.
She continued by citing “recent reports” that indicate “much of the methane waste could have been avoided.”
Burns also cited the American Lung Association’s State of the Air 2015 report. According to the report, 19 counties in Ohio received a failing grade for air quality.
“Now if you are a parent and your child brought home an F on their report card you’d be very disappointed. And so I feel that it is well within our rights as parents to be disappointed in the air quality in Ohio,” said Burns.
Regional Program Manager for the Labor Climate Project in Ohio Lee Geisse represented BlueGreen Alliance. On behalf of the organization, she endorsed the plead for federal regulations on monitoring methane waste.
“We support the Obama administration’s goal in reducing methane emissions by up to 45 percent by 2025,” said Geisse.
Geisse said national methane standards are a win-win. “They will reduce pollution that fuels climate change and other harmful pollution with lower cost American-made technology and will reduce wasted energy that could be used for homes and industries in Ohio and across the nation.”