Rachel Mark Comments to IRRC on Oil & Gas Site Standards

On April 21, 2016, PA IPL member Rachel Mark offered the following statement at a public meeting on the subject of Regulation #7-484: Environmental Protection Performance Standards at Oil and Gas Well Sites

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I am speaking today as a member of Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light, a faith-based organization responding to climate change, and because as a concerned person, I worry every day about the future of the youngest members of my family.

I share the position of Interfaith Power & Light that the use of fossil fuels, including natural gas, is primarily a moral issue. We take seriously the accumulation of evidence by the scientific community that the continued use of fossil fuels is leading to a dangerous and uncertain future, with a very real possibility that our children will inherit a climate and a world that is out of their control. If a climate out of control is hard to conceptualize, we have only to think of the extreme weather conditions that are happening already, the sea level rise occurring in Miami, the current deluge of flooding in Houston, insect-borne diseases, and wild fires which are documented to be hotter than fires in past history.

The benefits of natural gas are usually argued in terms of cost benefit analysis, and lower carbon emissions when compared to coal. Unfortunately, fossil fuels are already creating havoc around the world.

In view of the scientific warnings about the urgency of climate change and about the dangers of continued use of fossil fuels, PA Interfaith Power and Light recently approved a resolution favoring a moratorium on new gas drilling leases and new drilling infrastructure. However, recognizing that we are not yet positioned for an immediate or fast transition to renewable energy, it is more than obvious that informed and appropriate regulations are first and basic steps essential to protect our air and water, and consequently the health and well-being of people and ecosystems.

Of course, we should be protecting our homes and schools. At the same time, we should be thinking long-term rather than short-term, and considering consequences in the world around us. Natural gas is a fossil fuel. We need to stop. If we are unable to stop now, we need to regulate as if our future depends upon it.