MESA’s Statement Following The Utah DEQ’s Affirmative Vote on The New Rules on Monitoring and Repairing Leaks at Well Sites
by Ty Markham, Chair of MESA- posted on January 4, 2018
A few months ago in October (2017), as part of MESA’s campaign to support Utah’s Department of Environmental Quality (the DEQ’s) new rules on monitoring, reporting and repairing of toxic leaks at well sites, MESA created a petition expressing support of the new rules. These rules are an important step forward in setting up a reliable process for controlling air quality in areas of the state where drilling, pumping and storage of fossil fuels occur. MESA’s petition garnered many signatures across the state and beyond and was submitted to the state’s DEQ during the comment period. Our facebook postings during the comment period encouraged followers to submit comments on the DEQ’s official site in support of the new rules.
The DEQ’s January 3rd regular monthly public board meeting agenda was set to make final decision, by vote, on whether to adopt the proposed new rules. Just prior to the call for a vote, the board spokesperson announced publicly to the audience that a large majority of public comments had expressed support for the rules, as well as a MESA petition with many signatures in support.
The board then invited anyone in the audience who represents any one of various groups (mentioned by name) to address the board. MESA’s chair, Ty Markham, came forth to thank the board and others for their hard work in developing the new rules, and to relay MESA’s support of the rules, as they represent a starting point for further refinement and expanded application.
Votes cast by the board were nearly unanimously in favor of the new rules, with only one dissenting vote out of the seven board members in attendance. Subsequent statements by grassroots and non-governmental organizations, included MESA’s statement: “Air pollution from the oil and gas industry degrades the environment that God has entrusted us with protecting for future generations. These new policies from the Utah Department of Environmental Quality are a good starting point for improving the quality of life for all God’s children, but we encourage the agency to move quickly on further actions to reduce the harmful pollution that puts our families at risk.”
The following is MESA’s original call for comments to our members and followers on social media.
As God’s earthly stewards we must protect His gift of divine creation! Support Clean Air!
by Mormon Environmental Stewardship Alliance- (posted October 2017)
Tell the Utah Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) you support clean air standards. Heavenly Father has made us accountable for protecting and preserving our earthly home for future generations. But rising smog levels brought on by irresponsible energy development are putting the health of our families at risk.
Fortunately, the DEQ is taking steps to modernize oversight of the oil and gas industry in order to reduce harmful air pollution. These actions can improve the quality of life for all God’s children. Especially if the DEQ makes these sensible improvements:
- Require companies to check ALL well sites and other facilities for harmful pollutants at least twice a year
- Apply commonsense pollution standards to ALL hydrocarbons – methane AND Volatile Organic Compounds
- Require companies to report harmful gas leaks to the authorities
The Earth is our life-support system. To foul the air, poison the waters, disrupt the climate system or wantonly destroy other species and ecosystems is to desecrate Heavenly Father’s wondrous creation and bring harm to our bodies — the temples of our soul. Please join us in telling the Department that Utahns support clean air standards that ensure we are acting as responsible stewards of our earthly home.