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Report: Smog from Oil and Gas Facilities Linked to Asthma

A new report links emissions from oil and gas facilities to asthma. (zhengzhaishuru/iStockphoto)
A new report links emissions from oil and gas facilities to asthma. (zhengzhaishuru/iStockphoto)
September 1, 2016

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Air pollution from oil and gas facilities in California will cause children an extra 12,000 summertime asthma attacks in 2025 according to a new study from the Clean Air Task Force.

Researchers for the "Gasping for Breath" report looked at the EPA's emissions projections and found that by 2025, oil and gas plants will be emitting 20,000 tons of volatile organic compounds per year in the Golden State.

Jaclyn Schroeder lives in Porter Ranch, the site of last winter's massive natural gas leak. She and her family had to evacuate their home for four months, causing a great deal of disruption for her 5-year-old son and twin toddler daughters, who have asthma.

"I'm obviously very concerned if I'm subjecting my children to poison every day,” Schroeder said. "I happened to grow up here in Porter Ranch and had asthma as a child. And it's now being passed on to my children."

The report also found that California children will miss more than 9,000 days of school each year due to ozone smog from oil and gas pollution.

Janice Nolen, assistant vice president for national policy at the American Lung Association said that California is working on strict new rules to limit emissions.

"As we've looked at it for years, the combination of heat and emissions and their terrain that keeps things trapped so that the ozone's able to cook well can create a big problem with ozone,” Nolan said. "And California, fortunately, has been leading the nation in trying to clean up some of those sources."

Paul Billings, the senior vice president for advocacy with the American Lung Association, said he supports new methane rules proposed by the federal government limiting natural gas waste from flaring and leaks.

"Air pollution remains a serious threat to the health of millions of people, and oil and gas extraction is part of the problem,” Billings said. "And if EPA takes steps to address regulating existing sources, we can make tremendous progress toward reducing that burden."

You can track the locations of oil and gas facilities and learn about the risk your community faces on the website oilandgasthreatmap.com.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - CA