Today, the Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN) submitted 103,436 comments from individual pro-life Christians calling on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to strengthen supplemental rulemaking for Existing and New Source Standards for Reducing Methane and Toxins from the Oil/Gas Sector (Docket # ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2021-0317). The comments read as follows:
As pro-life Christians, we want the air we breathe to be safe for our children. But leaks in our oil/gas infrastructure spew toxic pollutants that put God's creation and our families - pregnant mothers and the unborn - in harm's way. Unborn children close to leaks are at higher risk of birth defects, and children attending school near leaks have higher rates of cancer and asthma.
That's why Christians are calling on the EPA to ensure that stronger regulations and inspections included in EPA's Methane Supplemental Rule are never weakened. We want maximum protection for our children from pollution, particularly from low-producing wells.
We also call on EPA to make the rule stronger by:
- Limiting flaring except as needed for safety or maintenance.
- Including all storage tanks in the standard to reduce the leaks.
- Providing a clear way for communities to monitor and report large leaks from the oil and gas industry.
“This overwhelming support from our community is a witness to their strong concern for defending the health and lives of children from the threats of toxins and climate warming methane from the oil/gas industry,” stated the Rev. Mitch Hescox, President/CEO of EEN. “It says a lot that no other group has generated as many comments as these pro-life Christians. It is a witness to their strong commitment to defend all of human life from conception until natural death.”
The updated draft rule improves upon or maintains many of the standards in the original draft rule released by EPA in 2021, including ensuring all wells are regularly and frequently inspected for leaks and that outdated pneumatic equipment is replaced with zero-emitting options. The need for strong reporting mechanisms was highlighted late last year when a historic 13-day methane leak in rural Pennsylvania effectively erased the emissions reductions of half of all electric cars sold in the US last year.
“We’ve waited far too long to defend our kids from these toxins,” continued Hescox. “In addition to ensuring that each of these key provisions stays in the final rule, there is more work to be done to defend public health—especially the health of children, both born and unborn. Let’s finalize these rules and go to work to improve the lives of our children.”