By Celerah Hewes for Moms Clean Air Force
Families living on the frontlines of oil and gas have an updated tool at their fingertips. The new analysis in the Oil & Gas Threat Map released by Earthworks and FracTracker shows that more than 17.3 million people, including 3.9 million children under 18, live within a half-mile threat radius of active oil and gas operations. This is an increase of 4.7 million people since the last time Earthworks updated their analysis in 2017. When families and individuals live within the threat radius, they are more at risk of health impacts from methane and other harmful pollution emitted by oil and gas operations. The Oil & Gas Threat Map is a powerful tool that highlights the need for strong methane rules to protect the health of families and the climate.
Methane is the main ingredient in natural gas, and it’s a powerful greenhouse gas pollutant that is fueling the climate crisis. Oil and gas companies leak methane at the rate of more than 16 million metric tons a year into the atmosphere when they extract, store, and transport oil and gas throughout the supply chain. This is the equivalent of the climate pollution from all of the nation’s passenger vehicles in a year.