Re: Protecting air quality
Last year, the Bureau of Land Management issued a rule addressing natural gas waste on federal lands. The Bureau of Land Management’s methane and waste prevention prevents needless waste of publicly owned natural gas resources. While ensuring potential revenue sources are not lost, the rule will also protect the health of Wyoming citizens. The recent increase in Ozone Action Days in the Upper Green River Basin has highlighted the continuing need to address methane emission levels.
As a board certified pediatrician, I am very concerned about the health of Wyoming’s children due to air pollution. Methane emissions contribute to the concentration of ground-level ozone. Air pollution can have devastating health consequences and it is not only children who are impacted. Ozone pollution is harmful to the elderly and people with respiratory problems as well. Air pollution has real world implications. A Wyoming Department of Health report has noted a rise in clinic visits in Sublette County due to increased ozone levels. These are lost days on the job and lost days in school.
Despite the importance of protecting air quality, Wyoming’s Congressional delegation is willing to allow waste of public resources while risking public health. Sen. John Barrasso introduced, and Sen. Mike Enzi co-sponsored, a congressional Review Act resolution to overturn the BLM rule. Rep. Liz Cheney has already cast a vote for this short-sighted resolution in the House. There are abundant data showing how air pollution negatively affects health. As a physician, I expect Sen. Barrasso and all elected delegates to fully understand the health and economic impacts of air pollution.
Kathleen M. Yapuncich, MD