WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Monday, Congressman Stephen F. Lynch (D-Boston) introduced H.R. 4381, the Natural Gas Pipeline Public Health Protection Act of 2017, which would suspend construction and expansion of natural gas facilities in communities with unsafe air pollutant levels. The Act would require the enforcement of public health and environmental standards under the Clean Air Act, providing further protections for communities located near natural gas facilities.
In communities where certified independent air quality testing has revealed violations of the Clean Air Act, the Natural Gas Pipeline Public Health Protection Act would suspend construction and expansion of natural gas facilities that have been issued certificates of public convenience and necessity by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) within the two years prior to the law’s enactment.
“There are communities across the country, including in the district that I represent, that are already exposed to toxic levels of air pollutants and will be at increased risk of exposure once nearby natural gas facilities are built or expanded. This is not complicated: if the air quality in a community already violates federal Clean Air Act standards, we should not be adding toxins to the air in that community,” said Congressman Lynch.
This is just the latest step Congressman Lynch has taken to protect communities from the public health, safety and environmental risks caused by natural gas facilities. In July, Congressman Lynch met with Dr. Curtis Nordgaard to conduct a site visit near the Weymouth Compressor Station in Massachusetts. Dr. Nordgaard’s certified independent testing showed that the area surrounding the site of the proposed natural gas compressor station tested at unsafe levels of hazardous pollutants, such as benzene and formaldehyde.
Also in July, during consideration of the Promoting Interagency Coordination for Review of Natural Gas Pipelines Act, Congressman Lynch offered several amendments that aimed to improve the environmental, safety and public health impacts of natural gas pipelines and facilities. One of the proposed amendments, which would improve pipeline security by requiring FERC to ensure compliance with TSA security guidance and best practices on pipeline security, was agreed to. The bill passed in the House in July 2017 and has been referred to committee in the Senate.