New Report: Over Two Million Texans at Risk From Oil & Gas Pollution

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Austin- Today, a new report and threat map released by the Clean Air Task Force and Earthworks as part of a coalition supported by Clean Water Action, shows that emissions from oil and gas operations cause ozone from smog that threatens the health of 2.3 million Texans. The report projects that by 2025, ozone pollutants from oil and gas will trigger over 144,000 childhood asthma attacks, almost 106,000 lost school days, and 313 emergency room visits in Texas. The analysis is based on 2025 emissions projections from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) National Emissions Inventory.

“This analysis puts a chilling human perspective on the pressing problem that emissions from oil and gas operations pose to our public health and most vulnerable populations,” said David Foster, Texas Director for Clean Water Action.

Nationally, more than 750,000 asthma attacks in children, more than 500,000 days of school missed, nearly 2,000 asthma-related emergency room visits, over 600 respiratory-related hospital admissions, and over 1.5 million restricted activity days are attributable to ozone smog during the warm summer months resulting from oil and gas pollution.

In addition to data on asthma attacks and other health impacts associated with ozone pollution caused by oil and gas, the threat map displays data about the populations living within a half-mile “threat zone” radius from oil and gas development, where residents have a cause for concern about potential health impacts, and the counties with cancer and respiratory health risk above EPA’s level of concern. Users can also enter their own address to see local data on asthma impacts and if they live in the threat zone or a county with elevated risks from oil and gas.

“A status quo approach to this issue is unacceptable and will continue to place our children in danger,” continued Mr. Foster. “The swift advancement of safeguards at the state and federal level are urgently needed to better protect the public from air pollution from oil and gas facilities.”

The Obama administration recently finalized national standards for new sources of methane and ozone smog-forming volatile organic compounds pollution from the oil and gas industry and is pursuing standards for existing sources of methane as well. However, Texas is one of a handful of states challenging EPA's authority to implement these standards in federal court. “It's a shame Texas' political leadership continues to put the financial interests of the oil and gas industry ahead of public health,” Foster said.

To access the map, visit this page.

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Since our founding during the campaign to pass the landmark Clean Water Act in 1972, Clean Water Action has worked to win strong health and environmental protections by bringing issue expertise, solution-oriented thinking and people power to the table.

David Foster
512-474-2046
Michael Kelly
202-393-5449
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