As a nurse practitioner, I am writing to publicly thank U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King, who this week said they could not support the Congressional Review Act, which would be used to block rules issued by the federal Bureau of Land Management.
Their vote would help to protect the health of children and other at-risk populations by keeping methane gas and other dangerous chemicals from being released into the air. It is well known that air pollution has a negative impact on health. Equally recognized is the resulting increase in costs to Maine families and the community in the form of more frequent use of health care and lost time at work.
The Bureau of Land Management, under the Department of the Interior, is responsible for managing the oil and gas underneath our public lands for the benefit of all Americans. It is their job to ensure that our natural resources are used wisely.
The bureau’s natural gas waste rule is important for reducing energy waste, and is crucial for reducing air pollution and improving air quality. Some members of Congress have been intent on overturning the natural gas waste rule by using the mechanism of the Congressional Review Act. This action would essentially hand over our public lands to the oil and gas industry.
It is right to stop the assault on sensible guidance on natural resource management, which took years to develop. While these rules primarily apply to Western states, Maine always benefits form keeping the air clean across the U.S., given the prevailing wind patterns.
I thank Collins and King for their stand against this reckless and short-sighted use of the Congressional Review Act, which would harm the public’s health. Their voices and work for Maine’s health are so very appreciated.
Lisa G. Belanger, FNP, PMHNP