WATCH: New Mexico Residents Cheer BLM for Tackling Methane Waste

Last month the Bureau of Land Management took a much needed step to prevent the oil and gas industry from needlessly wasting American energy resources.

For oil and gas companies operating on public and tribal lands, the new standards will reduce the amount of methane that operators can leak, vent or burn into the atmosphere. These methane emissions result in massive amount of energy waste that translates to lost revenues for federal taxpayers and tribes. One recent analysis suggests that without these standards, taxpayers could lose out on more than $800 million in royalty revenue over the next decade.

Nowhere in the country is this a bigger problem than in New Mexico. Of the $330 million worth of gas experts estimate that is wasted from federal and tribal lands across the U.S. annually, almost a third of it ($101 million) is wasted in New Mexico alone.

Don Schreiber, a New Mexico rancher who lives amongst oil and gas development of the state’s San Juan Basin recently voiced his gratitude for BLM’s efforts.  “Thank you for acting to stop oil and gas companies from wasting our natural gas resources on our public and tribal lands,” he said.

Oil and gas methane emissions made New Mexico the subject of international headlines after a 2014 NASA study revealed a giant methane cloud hovering over the Four Corners. A subsequent study found that natural gas leaks were primarily to blame for the largest concentration of methane ever discovered in the U.S.

Tribal members are also voicing their support. Kendra Pinto, who is Diné (Navajo)  also expressed happiness with that the rules would have both economic and public health benefits.

“Thank you to our New Mexico leaders who stood up to protect taxpayers and fight for the health of our local communities.”

BLM’s actions were supported by dozens of elected officials across New Mexico and especially by the state’s congressional leaders, Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and Members of Congress Ben Ray Lujan and Michelle Lujan Grisham. And many in New Mexico are calling for those efforts to continue in the coming months at the state and federal levels.

Thank New Mexico's elected officials for standing up for standards that reduce waste and clean the air.

“The state of New Mexico and the federal government need to continue to work together and find win-win solutions that will cut natural gas waste, ensure a fair return to taxpayers, create good paying jobs and clean up our air,” said Oriana Sandoval, Executive Director or the Center for Civic Policy.

EDF recently filed a petition to defend the standards in federal court, and will continue to ensure New Mexico residents — and all communities across the Western US – retain these landmark standards that reduce waste, reduce air pollution, and return real dollars to Americans living in the oil and gas fields.

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