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As Congress and presidential candidates trade accusations over immigration reform, advocates and experts urge caution in spreading misinformation; Alabama takes new action IVF policy following controversial court decision; and central states urge caution with wildfires brewing.

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Congress reaches a deal to avoid a partial government shutdown again. Arizona Republicans want to ensure Trump remains on their state ballot and Senate Democrats reintroduce the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

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Hard times could be ahead for rural school districts that spent federal pandemic money on teacher salaries, a former Oregon lumber community drafts a climate-action plan and West Virginians may soon buy raw milk from squeaky-clean cows.

Public Health Benefits of Limiting Oil, Gas Methane Pollution

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Tuesday, January 31, 2023   

The public has until February 13th to weigh in on new rules proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce methane pollution at oil and gas facilities.

Emma Galofre Garcia, a doctoral student at C.U. Boulder's environmental studies program, said the EPA has an opportunity to build on successful efforts led by states including Colorado to rein in methane emissions, a dangerous air pollutant.

"It's a precursor to ozone and smog, causing lung damage, heart damage, greater susceptibility to respiratory infections. It causes and worsens lung disease such as asthma and bronchitis," Galofre Garcia said.

Some critics of proposals to limit methane pollution, including those passed in Colorado that require oil and gas operators to find and fix leaks and reduce flaring, have argued that the cost of implementation can be prohibitive. Proponents argue that companies benefit by capturing emissions and bringing more gas to market.

Some communities face greater risks than others. Latinos are twice as likely to go to the emergency room for asthma, and Latino children are twice as likely to die from asthma as white children.

Galofre Garcia said Latinos historically have had no other option but to live in the shadows of refineries and other sources of air pollution, but the goal should be to make all neighborhoods safe for families.

"Communities of color, Latinos have only had access to housing that have been red-lined and that are in areas that are more polluted," Galofre Garcia said. "But it's also that we don't want places like that to exist."

She added industrial methane emissions targeted in the EPA's new rules also come with toxins linked to cancer, damage to immune systems and developmental problems in children.

"Outdoor workers, who are disproportionately Latino, and children, who spend a lot of time outdoors, are at a higher risk of health problems caused by smog - since they spend more time outdoors in polluted air," Galofre Garcia said.


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