The first week of President Trump’s administration has been replete with new Executive Orders that do more harm than good to our country. Two of these orders could cause direct harm to our air, water and public health. The first, which attempts to push through the Dakota Access and the Keystone XL pipeline, threatens Native American tribes, farmers and communities along the pipeline route, as well our climate.
Today, the Obama administration released its proposed rule to limit air pollution from fracking and other oil and gas operations. The Methane Pollution Standard is the first limits on methane emissions from new and modified facilities including well pads, compressor station, storage facilities and other infrastructure
Today, the Senate is voting on amendments to the Keystone XL Pipeline Act. The bill itself, bill number S. 1, is a bad piece of legislation. It pushes the Keystone XL pipeline through – a pipeline that will harm our climate, threaten aquifers and harm nearby communities. Luckily, President Obama has already threatened to veto this ill-conceived bill.
Yesterday, the Obama administration came out with its plans to regulate methane from oil and gas wells. These rules will be the first of their kind, and underscore two of the most important problems with fracking-enabled oil and gas production -- its impact on the climate and its impact on human health.
Oil and gas operations across the country are a major source of air pollution of all types. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), coupled with nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide (together known as NOx) and sunlight, produce ozone, which is hazardous to human health and can cause premature death. Exposure to hydrogen sulfide gas, found in many shale oil and gas formations, can cause difficulty in breathing and eye and throat irritation. High levels of exposure can be fatal.
Last month, I traveled to New York City to join the People’s Climate March. Over 400,000 people came from across the country to tell President Obama that the time to act on climate is now, because we don’t have time to spare. We are already feeling the effects of climate change across the globe.
Yesterday, the Obama administration announced the first-ever limits on carbon pollution from existing U.S. power plants. This groundbreaking regulation is an important first step towards addressing the largest source of climate-warming pollutants, and a small step on the way towards an energy future based largely on renewable energy.
The rule allows each state to choose from a broad menu of carbon-cutting options, including energy efficiency improvements, clean energy sources, implementing a carbon tax, or instituting or joining a cap-and-trade system. Overall, the new rule will cut carbon pollution from power plants by 25% by 2020, and 30% by 2030, using 2005 emissions levels as a starting point.
This weekend, Earthworks Eastern Program Coordinator, Nadia, and I attended Power Shift, a gathering of thousands of students and young people dedicated to fighting dirty energy and promoting a just transition to a clean energy future.
Over 6,000 people gathered in Pittsburgh, PA for 3 days of inspiration and education, followed by a march through the streets calling for an end to our dependence on fossil fuels. Fracking was a huge part of the discussion at Power Shift this weekend, with many impacted community members profiled as part of panel discussions and events.