Regarding "White House: Working towards environmental justice in Houston," (Jan. 29): It was heartening to read White House Center for Environmental Quality Chair Brenda Mallory write about the work being done by local leaders to promote environmental justice throughout Texas.
Texans should also know about another immediate opportunity to reduce the amount of pollution in the air they breathe: new rules recently announced by the Bureau of Land Management and the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce the waste of natural gas and cut methane and other harmful pollutants from new and existing oil and gas operations.
Methane is both a potent greenhouse gas — warming the atmosphere roughly 80 times as much as carbon dioxide — and a local air pollutant causing lung damage, heart damage, birth defects and more. Oil and gas wells present throughout Texas — located disproportionately close to Black and Latino communities — emit methane pollution in a wasteful and needless way through a practice called venting and flaring. When companies rush to drill for oil, some do not make the necessary investments to capture and sell the methane that comes out with it, and instead let it escape into the atmosphere.
We urge Texans to ask the EPA to limit the wasteful practice of venting and flaring. These rules must reduce the air pollution that is harming our communities’ health, eliminate loopholes and ensure all wells are monitored. That will not only remedy injustice, but also reduce waste and protect our climate.