ST. GEORGE — Members of the Mormon Environmental Stewardship Alliance in Utah are applauding the Environmental Protection Agency’s final rule that sharply reduces emissions of methane and other air pollution from oil and natural-gas operations.

Soren Simonsen, treasurer and board member with the alliance says “clean air is fundamental to life,” and that the health of the climate is directly related to overall well-being, and added his group is very appreciative of all the work that has gone into what he calls a “thoughtful rule,” which helps address methane emissions, which, according to the EPA, is responsible for about one-third of current warming resulting from human activities.

“It particularly is impactful in Utah because of the geography of Utah,” Simonsen said. “We have many valleys, and in the middle of those valleys, communities are situated. And many people are familiar with the inversions of Salt Lake Valley and Utah Valley and Cache Valley. It is a growing problem in the Uinta Basin as well.”

Simonsen added the problem is exacerbated from ozone and other aspects that are related to methane releases which come from areas in the state that focus on high production of fossil fuels. Simonsen said to those who feel the rule is a “heavy hand of government,” it’s important to remember it’ll help ensure better health outcomes for everyone, especially people who live and work near oil and natural-gas facilities.

According to the EPA, the final rule creates a “streamlined pathway for owners and operators to demonstrate that new technologies” can help meet the performance requirements in the rule. Simonsen added Utahns have a great way to figure out how to turn challenges into opportunities.

“I’m totally convinced that the innovation that we see in Utah industry and the entrepreneurial spirit that embodies really the entire community is going to figure out how to do this and do it really, really well, ” Simonsen said.

Simonsen added the rule is what he considers to be the “lowest hanging fruit” in the fight against not only the climate crisis but the public health crisis as well.

Written by ALEX GONZALEZ, Public News Service

Click here to access the original story.