It’s a victory for clean air and a testament to WildEarth
A few years ago, we saw a problem.
Unrestrained drilling and fracking was making a mess of the
air we breathe. From smoggy skies
to poisons in peoples’ own backyards, the oil and gas industry was running
amuck here in the American West.
Making things worse, the air quality regulations that were
supposed to keep us safe from this air pollution were about as outdated as the
eight-track player. They were
So we did something about it.
With the help of Earthjustice,
in 2009 we joined forces with the San
Juan Citizens Alliance and sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
for not updating national air quality regulations.
Last week, this effort paid off in a big way as the EPA
adopted the first-ever
set of safeguards to protect our clean air from fracking.
The new rules are a major success, promising enormous
benefits, including a:
- 15% nationwide reduction in volatile organic compounds, a toxic group
of chemicals that form smog.
- 1.7 million ton reduction in methane, a potent greenhouse gas; this will
be like eliminating the carbon dioxide emissions of up to 38 coal-fired power
- 25% reduction in toxic air pollutants, such as benzene, a known
These new regulations are a big step forward. And this is really important to
emphasize: this is just one of
many steps that need to be taken to protect people from fracking and promote
Because as important as it is to keep poisons out of the air
we breathe, it’s even more important to ensure that we’re on the path to energy
that’s clean from the start.
We can’t frack our way to clean energy. But as we continue
to power past fossil fuels, there’s no reason we can’t breathe easier.
This is progress and it’s a victory we’re proud to trumpet.