LETTER: We must tackle methane pollution

The Rev. David McCullough
Springettsbury Township
FILE - In this Monday, Feb. 1, 2021 file photo, emissions from a coal-fired power plant are silhouetted against the setting sun in Independence, Mo. A United Nations report released on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021 says humans are making Earth a broken and increasingly unlivable planet through climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. So the world must make dramatic changes to society, economics and daily life. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

The good news on climate change is that there is finally real momentum to act. The bad news? So much remains to be done, especially here in Pennsylvania, the third-largest greenhouse gas-polluting state in the U.S.

As an evangelical Christian, I am concerned about the health impacts to our children, both born and unborn. Pollution from the gas industry already results in increased congenital heart, brain, and spinal cord defects, in low-birth-weight infants, and with methane pollution representing over 20% of greenhouse gases, the heightened temperatures drive increased Lyme disease, more asthma attacks, and greater threatening extreme weather.

Gov. Tom Wolf has made admirable commitments and proposals that show he intends to lead on curbing climate pollution such as methane, which is far more potent than C02 in the near term. It’s a good thing, because scientists are now telling us that low-producing wells leak into the atmosphere more than 100% of their reported gas production. We have both low-producing and high-producing wells in Pennsylvania – the second-largest natural gas-producing state.

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So how do we tackle this issue?

We need a comprehensive effort on reducing methane pollution here in Pennsylvania. We need Gov. Wolf and the Department of Environmental Protection to finish a proposed regulation to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas industry, including high-emitting, low-producing wells.