To the Editor:
The EPA, under court order, had to issue new air pollution standards for oil and gas exploration and production.
More than 25,000 new and existing wells fraced or refraced each year release methane, a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent that carbon dioxide, benzene, and several other cancer-producing air toxins.
Reviews of four air regulations for the oil and gas industry are required by the Clean Air Act. EPA's new source performance review is required from equipment leaks at gas processing transmission and storage facilities. EPA was under a consent decree requiring it to sign a proposal by July 28 and take final action by Feb. 28, 2012.
Howard Feldman, the American Petroleum Institute's scientific and regulatory policy director, said on July 28, "EPA has already imposed stringent emissions limitations on engines used in oil and gas operations. API will review these proposed rules to ensure that they don't inadvertently create unsafe operating conditions, are cost effective and truly provide additional public health benefits, and don't stifle the development of our abundant natural resources."
Feldman would also like EPA to extend the final rule deadline beyond February 2012 by a minimum of 6 months to allow adequate time to collect and analyze comments on the proposed rules.
If methane, benzene, and cancer-producing toxins are not immediately and voluntarily removed by the industry, I'm hoping that politicians, as they look into the mirror each morning, might ask themselves, why? And, is breaking apart and releasing uncontrolled greenhouse gases and cancer-producing agents with tens, if not eventually hundreds of thousands, of new wells really the answer to America's long-term health and energy security?