Help us identify methane gas leaks
Did you know there are thousands of gas leaks in our area?
Did you know that the gas leaks cost ratepayers millions of dollars a year in wasted gas?
Here's the Concern
Gas leaks are made of a flammable gas called methane. Leaks come from pipes that supply homes with this methane, sometimes called "natural gas". Methane is used for cooking and heating. There are three areas of concern: Health, Climate and Safety.
Gas appliances are a threat to your HEALTH, even without leaks. Methane gas emits noxious fumes when burned. The resulting mix of nitrogen dioxide (NO₂) and other pollutants have serious health ramifications. Nitrogen dioxide exposure results in increased respiratory symptoms, asthma attacks and hospital admissions. Long-term NO₂ exposure is likely to cause asthma, especially in children, and can increase the risk of diabetes, cancer, and premature death. Many homes with gas-burning appliances frequently exceed Environmental Protection Agency outdoor air quality standards, but because indoor air is unregulated by the EPA, the toxic fumes are perfectly legal.
Methane also causes CLIMATE CHANGE. Methane gas from Washington Gas is burned and leaked all across Montgomery County. It accounts for about 20% of our region’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to official estimates, but the real numbers are likely far higher. The County’s electricity is increasingly moving to clean sources like wind and solar, but it won’t be entirely clean while dirty gas is in our mix. When methane gas burns, it produces carbon dioxide, the most common greenhouse gas. When released directly into the atmosphere, methane is 84 times more powerful as a global warming agent than carbon dioxide, making gas leaks a serious threat to the climate. Research shows methane leaks from gas utilities, including Washington Gas, are likely double the official estimates. But, there’s serious methane leakage before the gas even gets to our utility. Those emissions – from fracking the gas, processing and transporting it – are 60% higher than EPA estimates, according to a study published in the journal Science. Our County climate goals – cutting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 80% by 2027 and 100% by 2035 – will never be met if we keep burning gas. And stopping gas leaks is an important environmental justice issue.
Finally, SAFETY: Montgomery County has had more than its fair share of gas explosions in apartments over just the past few years. These explosions didn’t have to happen. We need to have our homes and all buildings electric powered as fast as possible.
Here's how you can Help
We are committed to mapping out the gas leaks in Montgomery County. You can sign up to join us on one of our twice a week scheduled walks. Email us at 350MoCo@gmail.com to be placed on our "methane warriors" google group listserv.
Moving away from gas to heat our buildings, and instead using high efficiency, electric driven heat pumps, which produce zero emissions and are three to six times more efficient than gas. Electric stoves and heat pump water heaters are also key pieces of the puzzle.