Press Release

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Statement from the Ohio Environmental Council on the Weakening of US EPA Methane Standards

Columbus, Ohio — The following statement can be attributed in full, or in part to Melanie Houston, Director of Climate Programs at the Ohio Environmental Council:

“Today, US EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced a significant weakening of a clean air rule for the oil and gas industry — a rule which was widely supported by Ohioans. In fact, Ohioans delivered over 80,000 comments in support of the standard during the US EPA’s initial comment period on the rule.

“This action will damage the quality of our air, and endanger our children’s health. The technology to capture methane leaks is readily available and cost-effective, yet a very small percentage of the industry voluntarily captures methane leaks.

“In Ohio, 3.1 million people live within half a mile of methane-emitting oil and gas facilities. Methane combined with other hitchhiker air pollutants are a major problem for Ohioans’ health, triggering life-threatening asthma attacks, aggravating respiratory conditions, and increasing cancer risk. Methane pollution is also 80 times more potent as a climate change driver than carbon in the short term. We need to be working to move forward on this issue, not weakening rules to set us back.

“The OEC will not stop fighting for clean air standards across Ohio.”