Clean Air Council Now Active to Mitigate Climate Change

by Diana Gooding on October 8, 2020

Lois and family live right here in the Marcellus region

Staff Profile: Lois Bower-Bjornson, Southwestern Penna. Field Organizer

From Lois Bower-Bjornson, Clean Air Council, October 6, 2020

My name is Lois Bower-Bjornson, and I’m the Southwestern Penna. Field Organizer with Clean Air Council. I am the mother of four children – three boys and a girl. I grew up in and still live and work in what has become the most heavily fracked county in Pennsylvania – Washington County. I am a dancer by trade, so I never imagined I would be working to advocate for stronger environmental protections for my community, the state, and even the country. I chose to do this work because my family, friends, and neighbors are negatively impacted by the natural gas infrastructure that surrounds us.

Early on in my advocacy work, I attended many meetings with elected officials to encourage them to develop standards to protect my community’s air and health. During the meetings, I started asking the question, “do you know what it’s like to live with fracking in your backyard? Come see it for yourself.”

After the first few elected officials showed interest in witnessing the impacts of fracking, I created the Council’s Frackland Tours project. I designed the tours to give elected officials and members of the media a first-hand account of what it is like to live near fracking and related operations used to clean and transport the gas, such as pipelines and compressor stations.

Frackland Tours begin with a presentation by health and environmental experts on fracking, its health effects, and the potential plans for the build-out of natural gas and petrochemical infrastructure in the region. I then lead participants on a tour of well pads and pipelines around my home and those of other residents affected by oil and gas infrastructure. The most important part of the tour is meeting with impacted residents. Participants of the tour get to experience first-hand the negative impacts to air, water, land, and overall quality of life that come from living close to oil and gas operations. I have seen a number of elected officials and agency officials respond with shock and disbelief to what they saw and heard on the tour.

Click here to watch Lois’ Frackland Tour

As part of the tour, I ask elected officials to act on what they have learned and seen. I and other affected residents have asked officials to advance a strong regulation to reduce methane and harmful compounds from existing oil and gas operations and prevent natural gas operations from being sited too close to where people live, work, and play. These tours are supporting affected residents in finding their voice so that our elected leaders can hear their stories and be inspired to address the impacts.


See also: EPA Rollback Boosts Toxic Air Pollution and Health Risks Including Cancer

From the Staff, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), October 01, 2020

WASHINGTON – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is finalizing an environmental rollback that ends enforcement of a longstanding “once in, always in” toxic air pollution policy, which required industrial facilities to implement major pollution control measures as long as the plant is in operation.

The following is a statement by John Walke, clean air director in the Climate & Clean Energy program at NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council):

“EPA’s ill-conceived move lets polluters of the most toxic air pollution regulated by the Clean Air Act increase that pollution by two, five or even 10 times what they were spewing into the air before this rollback. That will expose people to more mercury, lead, arsenic, asbestos and benzene pollution—and harmful health impacts including cancer, neurotoxic effects, fetal damage and premature death.

“That’s dangerous and immoral, especially amid a respiratory pandemic hitting hardest on people exposed to high levels of air pollution. We intend to fight this with every tool available.”

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