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
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.
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.
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.
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