Why Methane?

Lasting Solutions for Everyone!

Reducing methane emissions from the oil and gas sector is one of the fastest, most cost-effective ways to slow climate change in the short term

Problems &

impacts

Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas. While it exists in the atmosphere in lower concentrations than carbon dioxide, it is exponentially more potent as an atmospheric heat trapper. While it comes from a variety of sources, including agriculture and landfills, the most significant and preventable source of methane in New Mexico is from oil and gas development. the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is commonly known as the IPCC, reported in November of 2018 that methane from oil and gas is the number avoidable contributor to climate change and is something we need to urgently act upon now.

New Mexico has a methane waste and pollution problem – it’s costing our schools millions in revenue, ruining our air and harming our climate for future generations. Each year in New Mexico, oil and gas companies waste $275 million worth of natural gas through venting, flaring and leaks which costs the state over $40 million in royalty and tax revenue that could fund public education

The

Solution

According to Taxpayers for Common Sense 93% of methane waste in New Mexico is AVOIDABLE. Reducing methane emissions from the oil and gas sector is the fastest, most cost-effective way to slow climate change in the short term. 74% of Westerners support requiring oil and gas producers on public lands to use updated equipment preventing methane gas leaks.
New Mexico’s land, air, and water are a cherished part of our heritage, and we have a moral obligation to protect them. We need to hold oil and gas companies accountable with commonsense methane and air pollution rules that protect air quality and our climate. A state methane rule is a win-win that reduces pollution, increases funding for programs like education and encourages job creation in New Mexico’s growing methane mitigation industry.

Where we stand in the process

Methane

Timeline

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October 2014
NASA Discovery
NASA Discovers the methane hotspot above the four corners region.
October 2014
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May 2016
Methane Rules
Federal EPA and BLM methane rules are finalized after years of public and industry input, and significant scientific study.
May 2016
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November 2016
BLM Methane Rule Adopted
Interior Department Announces Final Rule to Reduce Methane Emissions & Wasted Gas on Public, Tribal Lands
November 2016
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March 2017
Rules Roll Back
Trump administration begins efforts to freeze and rollback federal rules.
March 2017
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May 2017
Roll Back Rejectionds
Senate rejects Congressional Revie Act proposal to roll back BLM methane rule
May 2017
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August 2018
Methane Matters Campaign
Methane Matters campaign is announced, demanding state-level methane rules of New Mexico's next governor.
August 2018
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September 2018
BLM Rescinds Methane Waste Prevention Rule
BLM announced a final rule that revises the 2016 Waste Prevention Rule (also known as the Venting and Flaring Rule).
September 2018
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October 2018
Proposed Rule to NSPS
EPA proposes to weak leak detection and repair standards that applied to new oil and gas development
October 2018
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January 2019
Executive Order
Governor Michele Lujan-Grisham signs executive order mandating emissions reduction, thanks organizations for their dedication and advocacy around methane emissions in New Mexico.
January 2019
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Proposal To Eliminate Regulation Of Methane
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) holds a public hearing on Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s recent proposal to eliminate the direct regulation of methane from the EPA’s New Source Performance Standards.
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F.A.Q.

Frequently Asked

No. While some companies have made commitments to reduce methane emissions, that only represents a fraction of the overall industry. All of New Mexico’s oil and gas producers should follow the same commonsense standards and use technologies that limit the amount of methane gas and pollution that is leaked, vented or flared from oil and gas facilities statewide. Moreover, the latest science has shown that methane emissions are five times higher than the oil and gas industry has reported to the EPA.

The Trump administration is rolling back federal regulations on methane pollution and waste.

  • Both the Bureau of Land Management and the Environmental Protection Agency are walking away from their oversight and enforcement of the oil and gas industry, leaving New Mexico unprotected from methane waste and pollution.
  • Other states are stepping up with common sense rules to control methane. New Mexico needs to act to protect taxpayers and the health of local communities.

Earlier this year Gov. Lujan Grisham issued Executive Order 2019-03, directing the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department and the New Mexico Environment Department to work together to develop rules that would cut natural gas waste and clean up air quality in rural communities. There is no time to lose. We’re calling on the governor to issue draft rules within her first year in office.

No. Oil and gas development plays a significant role in New Mexico’s economy by creating jobs and funding education. As the industry continues to grow, it has a responsibility to develop oil and gas resources wisely, minimizing impacts on our communities. Other states, including Colorado, have successfully enacted rules to curb methane waste and pollution while still allowing for growth and new jobs in the oil and gas industry. Moreover, cutting methane creates jobs in the methane mitigation industry.

A number of scientific studies – including a study of Barnett Shale well pads– have found that emissions from abnormal conditions such as malfunctioning equipment are responsible for a significant portion of the industry’s total methane emissions, but are often excluded from official emission inventories.

One of the largest methane studies to date, which surveyed over 8,000 well pads nationwide, found these emissions are random, unpredictable and ubiquitous. Researchers suggest cost-effective ways to reduce pollution, including regularly checking oil and gas sites for malfunctioning equipment and focusing on better site design.

We do not think that all emissions are from malfunctioning equipment. Intentional sources like pneumatic controllers and liquids unloading emit large quantities of methane, and it is possible that some of the emissions attributed to “abnormal conditions” are from these sources, but are underestimated due to issues such as underreporting. However, almost all of these emissions are avoidable with leak detection and repair programs or changes to site engineering to improve operational efficiency.

Take action

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