Editor: I am probably just one of the many Loudoun residents who were encouraged to read that the Environmental Protection Agency is at last proposing national limits on methane pollution from new and modified natural gas infrastructure projects.
Here in our beautiful county, my neighbors and I have had to repeatedly fight a series of natural gas projects that will bring industrial methane pollution to our own backyard; first the 778 MW Leesburg Panda Power Stonewall plant and then Dominion’s Leidy South proposal to expand the compressor station and add a new metering station in Leesburg. We fight because methane is an extremely dangerous greenhouse gas. Over a 20-year period, methane causes 86 times global warming than carbon dioxide.
Across Virginia, four natural gas pipeline projects crisscross the commonwealth. These projects promote hydraulic fracturing, a.k.a. fracking, of the Marcellus Shale bedrock underlying West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York. This extreme method of extraction is devastating to the human health and economic welfare of communities directly impacted. In addition, communities along pipelines are subjected to unacceptable levels of risk from explosion. Finally, releases of methane to the atmosphere by either deliberate compressor station blow-downs or unintended fugitive emissions from infrastructure accelerates global warming.
My church, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Loudoun, teaches respect for “the interconnected web of existence of which we are all a part.” These natural gas projects, as well as all fossil fuel projects, do not respect the web of existence. They destroy the web of existence.
I am thankful that the EPA is taking this positive first step to cut down methane pollution from new projects. Mindful of our interconnectedness, though, I pray for continued action to address existing methane pollution sources, including those right here in Loudoun County, that are already polluting our climate and hurting our neighbors.
Natalie Pien, Leesburg