By Alex Ross June 24, 2021

I’m Alex Ross, Defend Our Future’s community organizer in Phoenix, Arizona! On June 15th, I joined environmental justice advocates from across the country at a┬álistening session hosted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to share how methane pollution has impacted our community in Phoenix. Pollution from oil and gas production is fueling the climate crisis, threatening our health and safety, and things have only been getting worse.

The good news is that we have the technology to cut methane pollution from the oil and gas industry 65% below 2012 levels by 2025, and with EPA crafting new federal methane rules, we have an historic opportunity to act right now.

Each year, the oil and gas industry releases 16 million metric tons of methane into the atmosphere, and without swift action at the national level, methane pollution from the industry will continue to skyrocket, putting our community and the future of our planet at risk. That’s why I chose to make my voice heard.

For too long, people like me who live on the frontlines of oil and gas development have been left out of decisions about what happens in our own backyards. We must work together to cut methane pollution from the oil and gas sector before it’s too late.

My comments to the EPA on the need for stronger methane protections:

Good Afternoon, my name is Alex Ross and I am a community organizer for Defend Our Future in Phoenix, AZ. Oil and Natural Gas are currently the two largest sources for energy in Arizona. Their impacts on our quality of life cannot be understated. Regardless, Arizonans have made recent strides towards ensuring a carbon-free future. We know that methane pollution is fueling the climate crisis and disproportionately endangers the health and safety of Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities across the country. We know that for the last 20 years, Maricopa County has received an F rating from The American Lung Association for Air Quality. We know that each day we wait to take action is another child at risk for respiratory illness. Before living in Arizona, I spent my childhood down the street from a coal-fired plant in Shelby, Ohio. I remember needing regular breathing treatments and doctor visits until I was almost eleven. To ensure a future where every family has the right to raise their children in a world free of pollutants and toxins, we must act now. We have the opportunity to work together to cut methane pollution from the oil and gas sector by 65 percent by 2025, and we have to start by engaging those who have historically been excluded from this process. I encourage administrators to listen closely to the Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities that are represented at these sessions if we want to ensure an equitable future for all.