Letter: Natural gas waste bad for health – Billings Gazette, Feb. 11, 2017

It’s a little-known problem, but one with a big impact. Every year, $330 million dollars’ worth of natural gas is wasted into the atmosphere and turns into pollution. How? Natural gas gets flared, vented or leaked out into our air. Flaring and venting exposes Montanans — particularly babies and developing young brains—to the health risks of breathing in methane, which can lead to learning difficulties, breathing problems and even cancer.

Luckily, there are new standards to fix this problem. The BLM and EPA have both created new standards for oil and gas producers that require more natural gas to be captured. These standards protect our children, provide taxpayers with millions of dollars in additional funding, reduce toxic pollution and save us countless medical expenses. The BLM’s Natural Gas Waste Rule is crucial for improving local air quality. Right now, there’s a methane cloud the size of Delaware looming over the four corners of New Mexico and Colorado. That pollution creates poor air quality, leads to more cases of asthma and respiratory conditions, and makes kids sick. The standards are an important, cost-effective step forward. So I was disappointed to learn that Congress is planning to roll them back. It is time for our leaders in Washington to start putting health concerns ahead of industry profits. Please join me in contacting Montana’s senators today, and urging them to defend the BLM Natural Gas Waste Rule.

Becky Grey
Red Lodge