You are here

Don't "Stand With Gina" on Natural Gas

By x362102 - Originally posted at We Are Power Shift, July 25, 2013.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

I drafted this open letter to's board and staff because they are the predominant source of social media praising new EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. From their website, their coalition partners include: American Rivers, Defenders of Wildlife, Earthjustice, Environment America, Environmental Defense, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, League of Conservation Voters – Education Fund, National Audubon Society, Pew Environment Group, National Parks Conservation Association, National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Sierra Club, The Ocean Conservancy, The Wilderness Society, Union of Concerned Scientists, and World Wildlife Fund.

Letters like these, expressing environmental justice concerns to Big Green organizations, should never have to be written. When conference room decisions are being made to endorse candidates, policies, and plans of action in their Washington, New York, or San Francisco headquarters, attention should be paid to the consequences for frontline communities, especially those of us in the shalefields. Enough has been said and written about how our communities' concerns have been ignored or sacrificed by these national environmental groups in the past. It's time that those words materialize into action, and that should start with their approach to Gina McCarthy and the Obama administration's dead end climate plan that emphasizes dirty energies as false solutions.


I'm a field organizer with Energy Justice Network in northeast Pennsylvania and I'm writing to the board and staff of

A lot of my contacts and myself have been very disturbed by the messaging coming from partner organizations and from's Kevin Curtis regarding Gina McCarthy. I noticed is also the sponsor of I seek to open up a dialog between impacted people living in the shalefields and near fracking and the board/staff in charge of determining how we talk about the Obama administration and specifically Gina McCarthy in the future.

As you may know, McCarthy is the EPA official most responsible for the extension until 2015 drillers received for flaring oil and gas wells after the fracking process, as documented by the Washington Post here. When she announced the extension, many of us dreaded the thousands of flares and resulting emissions our communities are now breathing.

Prior to the election, the EPA bowed to the gas industry to include CNG/LNG vehicle subsidies in the fuel efficiency standards, as documented by Politico here. This will make our job as frontline organizers incredibly more difficult as more people purchase CNG vehicles in our communities and the gas industry is bolstered by a higher demand for methane. I know Gina McCarthy was a huge player at the negotiating table with that as well.

Finally, her proposed CO2 rule for new power plants does not protect us from natural gas power plant construction across the country that will send very harmful pollutants into our lungs. One recently permitted plant, which Energy Justice Network is in an appeal battle over, is the 900 MW Hickory Run Generating facility in Lawrence County. From its PA DEP permit, it will emit the following:

Hickory Run Energy expects the Facility to emit

CO2     -     3,693,660.3 tons per year

CO     -     807.53 tons per year

lead     -     0.001 tons per year

VOC     -     203.95 tons per year

SOx     -     56.70 tons per year

NOx     -     346.09 tons per year

PM2.5     -     134.41 tons per year

PM10     -     137.26 tons per year

PM     -     143.98 tons per year

H2SO4 -    8.57 tons per year

ammonia -    221.2 tons per year

formaldehyde - 6.9 tons per year

Total HAPs -    15.3 tons per year

In fact, the proposed EPA rule is even written to endorse the construction of natural gas plants, which you can read here:

An excerpt: "The proposed requirements, which are strictly limited to new sources, would require new fossil fuel-fired EGUs greater than 25 megawatt electric (MWe) to meet an output-based standard of 1,000 pounds of CO 2 per megawatt-hour (lb CO 2/MWh), based on the performance of widely used natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) technology. Because of the economics of the energy sector, the EPA and others project that NGCC will be the predominant choice for new fossil fuel-fired generation even absent this rule."

A 1,000 lbs / hr CO2 standard would still permit the Hickory Run facility and a slate of other proposed natural gas plants, requiring thousands more fracking operations, pipelines and compressor stations, billions of tons of waste, and condemning our communities to a lifetime of asthma, cancer, and respiratory issues.

It's heart wrenching to hear Big Green leadership praise and celebrate Gina McCarthy. She hasn't been an ally to us in the shalefields, or worse. I would like to hear and its partners use restraint in the future, and ideally, fully inform their members about McCarthy and her record, the sub-par CO2 standard, natural gas vehicle subsidies, and gas flaring that she supports. You can't "Stand With Gina" and the Obama natural gas policy and also stand with shalefield communities. Which side are you on?

Alex Lotorto

The Fine Print I:

Disclaimer: The views expressed on this site are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) unless otherwise indicated and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s, nor should it be assumed that any of these authors automatically support the IWW or endorse any of its positions.

Further: the inclusion of a link on our site (other than the link to the main IWW site) does not imply endorsement by or an alliance with the IWW. These sites have been chosen by our members due to their perceived relevance to the IWW EUC and are included here for informational purposes only. If you have any suggestions or comments on any of the links included (or not included) above, please contact us.

The Fine Print II:

Fair Use Notice: The material on this site is provided for educational and informational purposes. It may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. It is being made available in an effort to advance the understanding of scientific, environmental, economic, social justice and human rights issues etc.

It is believed that this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have an interest in using the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. The information on this site does not constitute legal or technical advice.