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 New Safeguards a Big Step Forward

Dear Guardian, 

It’s a victory for clean air and a testament to WildEarth Guardians’ effectiveness.

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things worse, the air quality regulations that were supposed to keep us safe from this air pollution were about as outdated as the eight-track player.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 completely inadequate.

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 plants.
  • 25% reduction in toxic air pollutants, such as benzene, a known carcinogen.

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 clean energy. 

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.


For clean air and a clean energy economy,

Jeremy Nichols Signature
Jeremy Nichols Staff Photo

Jeremy Nichols
Climate & Energy Program Director
WildEarth Guardians
jnichols@wildearthguardians.org

Fracking pc David Smith Associate Press
photo credit: David Smith/Associated Press
 
 
Oil and gas drilling has pushed smog levels in very rural areas to unbelievable highs, higher than Los Angeles.

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Read more about our victory at National Public Radio.

 


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WildEarth Guardians' mission is to protect and restore the wildlife, wild places and wild rivers of the American West.

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