Methane Testimony: Joy Bergey

JoyBergeyMy name is Joy Bergey, and I speak in my role as Director of the Environmental Justice Center of Chestnut Hill United Church. Based in Philadelphia, the Center is an inter-religious program working with congregations and individuals to address problems of environmental injustice.

The Environmental Justice Center thanks the EPA for proposing this rule. We urge that it be implemented quickly and not weakened in any way. In fact, we urge that it be strengthened.

I traveled to Pittsburgh from the city that just hosted His Holiness Pope Francis over the weekend.

Given the deeply inspiring message of the Pope, can there be doubt in anyone’s mind at this point that taking strong national action to limit climate change pollution is an urgent moral imperative?

Every major faith tradition calls on its followers to protect those at the margins of society who cannot defend themselves: the young, the old, the sick, the poor. And it is exactly these persons who are being hurt first and worst by climate change.

With no national standards in place to address methane from oil and gas wells, and with the solid scientific knowledge that the heat-trapping ability of methane is so much more potent than carbon dioxide, putting this standard in place as quickly as possible is critical.

Since the technology to trap methane leaks already exists, and is inexpensive and readily available, we just don’t understand why industry hasn’t already widely deployed the technology. Nine million tons of methane and toxic chemicals leaked into our air last year – enough to heat five million homes. But industry’s unfortunate dragging of their heels shows the rest of us that they will only act if and when they must.

The major faith traditions also call on us to protect, even celebrate the natural world that God has given us. God’s love is infinite; the earth’s natural resources are not. The ways that we generate our power in this country are causing damage to God’s world that could take centuries to heal, threatening to deprive our children and their children of safe and healthy communities in which to live and grow.

This rule on which we comment today moves us to better protect the sacred and irreplaceable gift of Creation, which comes from and belongs to God. We need this rule. Amen.

Comments in support of the EPA’s proposed methane standard
Docket number: EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505  *  *  * September 29, 2015, Pittsburgh, PA
Submitted by the Environmental Justice Center of Chestnut Hill United Church