Now Available: Video of February 9 Meeting in Partnership with JEA!

Methane Emissions and Our Health with PA IPL & JEA

This meeting, recorded Wednesday, February 9, 2022, was part of PA IPL‘s ongoing partnership with Jewish Earth Alliance (JEA).

TOPIC:
Methane Emissions & Our Health

Our inspirational spiritual remarks are given by PA IPL Director David Heayn-Menendez.

Then speaker Vanessa Lynch, M.Ed., Field Organizer for Pennsylvania Moms Clean Air Force, discusses methane, its dangerous effects on our health, and why we must reduce emissions.

Methane Emissions and Our Health with PA IPL & JEA

Join us Wednesday, February 9 at 7:00pm for a meeting as part of PA IPL‘s ongoing partnership with Jewish Earth Alliance (JEA).

TOPIC:
Methane Emissions & Our Health

Our inspirational spiritual remarks will be given by PA IPL Director David Heayn-Menendez.

Next we will have speaker Vanessa Lynch, M.Ed., Field Organizer for Pennsylvania Moms Clean Air Force, discuss methane, its dangerous effects on our health, and why we must reduce emissions.

Register here for this event and receive an email providing the Zoom link for the meeting.


JEA provides ongoing training and templates for monthly letter writing campaigns to local, state, and federal officials. The meetings provide a template, information, and guidance for all those who are interested in amplifying the message of Climate Justice.

Once you learn how easy Jewish Earth Alliance makes it, through their background information and template letter, for everyone to write letters to their federal officials, we hope you will write to your members of Congress now and for the next few months.

DEP: Love our people through your work.

Download this testimony as a PDF

Testimony to the Environmental Quality Board of the DEP
Proposed Rulemaking: Control of VOC Emissions from Oil and Natural Gas Sources (#7-544)

Thank you to those of you who are here to listen and record testimony tonight, to those who figured out how to do the virtual hearings, and to those who have participated in outlining and refining this proposed rulemaking.   I hope that you and your families are well. 

Because this is the last step on a very long path, you already know what Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light (PA IPL) has to say about the rule:

  1. We are so glad that the rule for existing sources is finally here.  Existing sources are, after all, the source of 100% of the existing pollution from oil and gas operations in this state.
  2. The rule, as proposed, will do some important work cutting emissions from large operations.  We ask that you amend the rule to close the massive loophole for emissions from smaller operations because neither bodily systems nor ecosystems care about the size of the source.
  3. The rule, as proposed, requires inspections.  That is good.  We ask that you amend the rule to require ongoing inspections even after repeated passing grades.  It is too easy for leaks to go undetected, and many leaks occur unpredictably.  Without regular, required inspections, leaks could go on for far longer, polluting our air and atmosphere much, much more, even when people are trying to do the right thing.
  4. This rule is a good start, but it does not yet limit methane directly.  VOCs are not co-emitted with methane at the same rates across the state.  We agree that we need to limit methane emissions (this rulemaking is specifically named as part of the Methane Reduction Strategy).  When this rule —this good start— is tightened and completed, we need you to move onward to direct methane surveillance and limits.

    You have seen the Pennsylvania Climate Change Impacts Assessments.  You know that climate change is here and now, not theoretical nor eventual.  You know it impacts infrastructure, water systems, and agriculture across the state, as that was the focus of the 2020 report.  You know, too, of increasing heat and humidity in various parts of the state, the impact of which is only compounded in hotspots like Hunting Park, which can be up to 20 degrees hotter than surrounding neighborhoods — where community members don’t have the resources to run air conditioners, and heat is a direct threat to our elders. 

Those points are all specific to this rulemaking.  They are things you know, they are things we have said before, and they are things that others will detail in depth. So this evening, I’d like to take us in a different direction.  I would like to invite you to bring your whole selves into this space.  You are, after all, more than just your expertise. 

Whether or not we identify with a particular faith tradition we know, each of us, foundationally, morally, and in our bones that people are not disposable.  When we stop to think about those things that are most important to us, when we pause for gratitude and Thanksgiving, it is the people who have cared for us, celebrated with us, challenged us, and stuck by us, it is the places where we have laughed, and sung, and healed – these are the “things” for which we give thanks.  These are the “things” that weave us together.  People and places fill us and feed us as profit and stuff never will.  Americans know this.  Pennsylvanians know this.  

We know people are not disposable, and we know that our Common Home is not disposable – we know that the web of life is, in fact, a web of interconnection. 

We know real community. 
I know, and you know. 

Unfortunately, at work, there are a lot of scoresheets, and the way we keep score doesn’t have this knowledge of heart and soul the way you do, and I do, and the way the residents of our Common Wealth do.  So we need rules.  And that rulemaking is your job.  Tonight, I’m asking you to hear it as a calling.

I am asking you to use your expertise, and to bring your whole self.  Write the rules that truly protect what matters.  In doing your work, love our places.  Love our people.  Love our children’s futures, and their grandparents’ longevity.  Write the rules we need.  Here at PA IPL we see that all policy is a covenant with the future. 

I am asking each of you, and each one of your colleagues: on Friday morning, after the last of these hearings, take your whole selves to work and love us all.  Write the covenant we need.  Do it for your family, and for mine, for our Common Home, and all who live here. 

Close the loopholes.  Raise the bar.  Write a good covenant.  Finish this one, and write the next.

Testimony given virtually via WebEx on June 23, 2020
Cricket Eccleston Hunter
Director of Program, Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light
paipl.org

Residents of Pennsylvania may submit written testimony until July 27.

Written comments may be submitted through DEP’s eComment webpage, by email to: RegComments@pa.gov or in writing to: Environmental Quality Board, P.O. Box 8477, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8477.  Note that comments must include that they are in response to the Proposed Rulemaking: Control of VOC Emissions from Oil and Natural Gas Sources (#7-544)

Proverbs 22:3 Are we simpletons?

On July 10, several Pennsylvania religious leaders traveled to Washington DC to offer in-person testimony to the EPA regarding delay of implementation of New Source Performance Standards for Methane emissions from oil and gas operations.  EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505Daniel Swartz at EPA

Good afternoon.  I am Rabbi Daniel Swartz of Temple Hesed of Scranton.  I’m also Board President of Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light, which works with congregations and people of faith across Pennsylvania to address the moral dimensions of climate change.  In addition, I have a background in children’s environmental health, including serving for several years on EPA’s Children’s Health Protection Advisory Committee.

The Book of Proverbs gives us blunt advice about how to distinguish between wise and foolish decisions.  In Proverbs 22:3, we read: “the prudent see danger and take cover, but the simpleton keeps going and pays the penalty.”  In the case of the new source rule we are discussing today, we know that there is danger.  We know the solution, one that has already been applied under multiple state-level standards and has been shown to be both practical and affordable. To simply keep going, to put off taking cover by delaying the implementation of this rule, is, by this biblical standard, clearly foolish.

And worse than foolish.  EPA has officially stated that the health and safety risk posed by any delay “may have a disproportionate effect on children.”  To recognize that and yet still call for delay is not just foolish but immoral.

Since 1995, all of EPA regulations and rules are supposed to take into account that children aren’t just little adults when it comes to environmental health and safety.  Their developing Continue reading Proverbs 22:3 Are we simpletons?

Catholic Social Teachings: methane, morality, and delay

Sister Mary Elizabeth ClarkOn July 10, several Pennsylvania religious leaders traveled to Washington DC to offer in-person testimony to the EPA regarding delay of implementation of New Source Performance Standards for Methane emissions from oil and gas operations.  EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505

My name is Sister Mary Elizabeth Clark, a Sister of St. Joseph of Philadelphia, special assistant for sustainability to the President of Chestnut Hill College. I am also an Ambassador of the U.S. Catholic Bishops’ Catholic Climate Covenant. Speaking from a faith perspective and the moral imperative of doing no harm to God’s creation, I support what Pope Francis has said in his call to us all, “Whenever human beings fail to live up to environmental responsibility, whenever we fail to care for creation and for our brothers and sisters, the way is opened to destruction and hearts are hardened.  “Let us be protectors of creation.”

The tradition of Catholic social teaching offers a developing and distinctive perspective on environmental issues. We believe that the following themes drawn from the Catholic Social Justice tradition are integral dimensions of ecological responsibility:

  • A consistent respect for human life which extends to respect for all creation;
  • A world view affirming the ethical significance of global interdependence and the common good.

When considering the regulation of emissions of methane gas, which is Continue reading Catholic Social Teachings: methane, morality, and delay

Shareholders, stakeholders, and the Common Good

On July 10, several Pennsylvania religious leaders traveled to Washington DC to offer in-person testimony to the EPA regarding delay of implementation of New Source Performance Standards for Methane emissions from oil and gas operations.  EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505

Sr. Nora Nash at EPA (1)

I am Sr. Nora Nash of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia. I thank you for the opportunity to publicly recommend that the EPA implement the methane New Source Standards without delay.

I represent my congregation, a community of over four hundred Franciscan women, whose charism calls us to be strong proponents of climate justice, care for creation, and sustainability. I also speak for the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, and the Investor Environmental Health Network — two organizations who continue to have positive interaction with corporations on their social and environmental responsibilities and policies. Members work with corporations to build a more just and sustainable world by integrating social and environmental values into investor actions. We accept our moral responsibility to protect our environment, speak for the human rights of communities, human health and the over-all “common good” of society.

As responsible shareholders and stakeholders, we have consistently engaged major oil and gas companies on the need for monitoring and disclosure of methane leakage, on the grounds that what “gets measured gets managed.” Many of these companies have already established performance standards and Continue reading Shareholders, stakeholders, and the Common Good