Press Release

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New Online Map Shows Threat Existing Methane Pollution Poses To Ohio

Ohio Environmental Council, June 15, 2016

The Ohio Environmental Council, Earthworks, and Clean Air Task Force (CATF) launched, a new tool that maps the locations of the 90,313 oil and gas facilities operating in Ohio and the populations, schools and hospitals within a half mile radius of those facilities. Peer-reviewed science shows that living near polluting oil and gas facilities is associated with negative health impacts, including fetal defects and respiratory ailments.
“This is an important new tool for Ohioans, who can enter their own address, find out if they live within a threat zone, and see if their  community has an increased risk of cancer and respiratory health problems due to oil and gas related air pollution” stated Melanie Houston, Director of Oil and Gas for the Ohio Environmental Council.
The Obama administration recently finalized the first national standard for new sources of methane pollution from the oil and gas industry but this new standard fails to address the impacts of existing sources of methane pollution.  In Ohio, more than 3.1 million people – nearly one third of the state’s population –  live in areas within a half mile of oil and gas facilities associated with negative health impacts, including fetal defects and respiratory ailments. Safeguards are urgently needed to protect the public from existing sources of methane and other air pollution.
“Right now, the oil and gas industry is needlessly leaking millions of tons of methane pollution and toxic chemicals into the air that harm our health and speed up climate change,” said Jill Hunkler, Resident of Barnesville, Ohio who lives within a mile of three fracking wells and a compressor station.
“Doing nothing is continuing to put people, especially children, in harm’s way” stated Laura Burns, mother and Mom’s Clean Air Force organizer, “As concerned parents, we stand ready to work with the administration to finalize a standard for existing sources as well.”
“These industrial leaks are like an invisible oil spill happening every day. I have seen firsthand that this pollution can cause  significant health problems in my patients who live in the communities surrounded by oil and gas development” said Dr. Russ Lee-Wood, a physician practicing in Belmont County.
The Oil and Gas Threat Map displays information about those living within a half mile of oil and gas facilities in Ohio and other states.  Although scientific literature shows that health impacts are also associated at distances greater than 1/2 mile, the threat map conservatively uses a 1/2 mile because it is the distance at which these impacts have been most clearly correlated.
To access the map, visit