Over the past several years, the American Lung Association has recorded elevated levels of unhealthy ozone in places where oil and gas development is expanding.
This includes, remarkably, some largely rural counties where ozone had not been an issue before. So it is not surprising that this year’s State of the Air Report lists “removing limitations on emissions from oil and gas operations” as the third greatest threat to clean air in the United States.
This dire warning is particularly relevant here in Pennsylvania. Our state is the second largest producer of natural gas in the nation. Proposals for gas operations seem to be everywhere across the state – from drilling and major plastic plants to pipelines and compressor stations. Unfortunately, natural gas – mostly methane – leaks at every step of the gas production process. Ozone-forming pollutants and harmful pollutants leak alongside methane.
This is a critical time for all of us who breathe air, especially in Pennsylvania. We cannot afford a continuation of policies that put polluter profits above public health. We need decision-makers to put an end to Presidential Donald Trump’s outright attack on environmental protections.