I listened to a live town hall with Gina McCarthy of the EPA this week.
During her opening statement, she asked that people who care about climate change and green house gas emissions submit a comment on the proposed carbon pollution standards for new power plants. They are getting a lot of comments and she wants to hear from us. You can find information on how to comment here. The site notes that this is a different proposal than the 2012 EPA proposal and that comments from that proposal are not being applied this one, you have to comment again.
The call was organized by the Environmental Defense Fund and they had 15,000 people on the phone. I was pleased to hear them say that the White House feels strongly that the EDF is doing great work. Apparently an EDF Fellow was in the box with Michelle Obama for the State of the Union.
One listener asked “What can we do about all the natural gas getting into the air from fracking?” Administrator McCarthy said that the EDF has been doing a lot of work gathering data on this that is very helpful to her agency. She went on to say that we know there is a lot of methane going into the air from natural gas and oil wells. There is a rule that new and re-fracked wells have to do “Green completions” which means they have to capture the volatile compounds that are coming out of the wells. They are also looking at how they can find out where there is leakage in the system and how they can correct it. The Presidents’ Climate Action Plan directs all departments to look into the release of methane from everywhere, and what can be done about it.
Methane is 84 times more potent at warming the atmosphere than carbon dioxide for the first 20 years it is released. Dealing with methane is a good way to deal with near time/short term results of climate change.
Gina asked people to please take their children and grandchildren outside to play. Children need to learn to appreciate and connect with nature and this happens from going outside. Teach them to appreciate nature outside and the nighttime sky as well.
Giving your input on proposed standards is a good way to directly influence large decisions and to push back against the big oil and coal companies. Please take a few minutes before you head out to comment on the proposed standards. Comments can be made until March 10, 2014, but it is advised that comments received before February 7, 2014 will have more impact due to the Paperwork Reduction Act (no, I didn’t understand that either).