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Report Links Texas Oil and Gas Pollution to Asthma

A new report says more than 144,000 Texas children will experience asthma attacks from oil and gas pollution by 2025. (RobHainer/iStockphoto)
A new report says more than 144,000 Texas children will experience asthma attacks from oil and gas pollution by 2025. (RobHainer/iStockphoto)
September 2, 2016

AUSTIN, Texas - A new report said in the next decade, emissions from oil and gas operations will affect thousands of Texas children's health who live near or downwind of those facilities. The Clean Air Task Force predicts that by 2025, unless action is taken to curb pollution, ozone smog will cause 144,000 childhood asthma attacks in Texas.

Janice Nolen, assistant vice president for national policy with the American Lung Association, said each year, the oil and gas industry emits more than nine million tons of methane and other pollutants that contribute to ozone smog.

"We've got pipelines and engines and equipment that have historically just sort of leaked some of these volatile organic compounds and methane, and have not been recognized as being the contributor that they are," she said.

The report, called Gasping for Breath, ranks Texas worst among the states for the potential health effects of ozone smog pollution from oil and gas operations and pinpoints which communities are at risk.

In June, the EPA published federal standards to limit pollution from new and modified oil and gas facilities.

Paul Billings, senior vice president for advocacy for the American Lung Association, said the agency is working on standards for older facilities as well.

"Moving forward with common sense, best practices and setting strict standards and enforcing them, and ensuring that players comply by these rules will go a long way to address the pollution that's caused by oil and gas extraction," he said.

The Clean Air Task Force also has created an online map of oil and gas facilities and potential risk areas, at oilandgasthreatmap.com.

Mark Richardson, Public News Service - TX