Energy Exchange

Groundbreaking data is a wake-up call in the Permian, call to action for New Mexico

Last year, EDF announced a first-of-its-kind project to measure and map emissions from the Permian Basin — the nation’s most productive oilfield and the primary source of New Mexico’s methane problem.

Although the Permian Basin has led the world in oil and gas production, public data on its emissions has been near nonexistent. PermianMAP is changing that, and we’ve launched the project’s first tranche of data to help regulators, companies and the public understand and address the region’s methane challenge.

The scale of emissions PermianMAP uncovered is sobering, but this publicly available data will prove critical as New Mexico advances nation-leading rules under Gov. Lujan Grisham to cut methane pollution and achieve the state’s climate and clean air goals.

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Posted in Climate, Methane, Natural Gas, New Mexico, PermianMAP / Comments are closed

Exxon methane proposal shows promise, but misses the mark on rigor, reductions

It’s big news when one of the world’s largest oil and gas companies announces it supports hard and fast regulations to reduce its industry’s methane emissions. And it deserves to be, since methane pollution is supercharging the climate crisis and enforceable, comprehensive regulations are the only proven way to make a significant dent in this problem.

However, go a level deeper on the Model Regulatory Framework Exxon unveiled this week and it quickly becomes clear that the specific strategies it proposes lack the ambition needed to dramatically reduce oil and gas methane emissions industrywide. Far from a nationally leading set of proposals, if implemented, they would actually be weaker than the methane standards currently in place in several leading states as well as the Environmental Protection Agency’s current requirements.

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Posted in Methane, Methane regulatons, Natural Gas, New Mexico / Comments are closed

Amid an oil and gas boom, New Mexico legislators need to refill regulators’ tanks

As lawmakers convene in Santa Fe for the current legislative session, they face a state transformed by an oil and gas boom. Expanded oil and gas drilling has made New Mexico the No. 3 oil producer in the nation and is transforming large swaths of the state’s landscape.

However, while oil and gas production has skyrocketed over the past decade, years of funding cuts under former Gov. Susana Martinez have left New Mexico’s energy and environmental agencies unable to guarantee oil and gas operations take place safely and responsibly.

The state’s leaders can chart a new course this year by ensuring these agencies have the resources they need to keep pace with industry’s growth and protect the health, air and water of New Mexicans across the state. This will mean going above and beyond the budget proposed for these agencies by Gov. Lujan Grisham in order to get vital regulators back on their feet.

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EPA’s methane rollback sparks opposition from a diverse group of stakeholders

Over the last few months the Environmental Protection Agency has accepted comments on its proposal to deregulate methane from the oil and gas industry. And based upon the volume and content of comments they have received, the agency should realize opposition to this proposal is both widespread and strong.

It is no surprise that more than 300,000 commenters weighed in to oppose this harmful proposal when you consider that EPA themselves admit it will lead to millions of tons of additional air pollution and potentially prevent any future federal methane regulation of hundreds of thousands of older oil and gas facilities. Not to mention that this proposal will supercharge climate change due to the fact that methane is an extremely potent greenhouse gas, responsible for a quarter of the warming that we are experiencing today, and the oil and gas sector is the largest industrial source of methane pollution.

EPA heard from EDF and other environmental groups, but they also heard from a diverse range of other powerful voices explaining why they oppose this rollback.

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Posted in Air Quality, Methane regulatons, Natural Gas, New Mexico / Comments are closed

Permian methane measurements will aid New Mexico regulators

The Permian Basin has grown to become the most productive oil field in the country and one of the largest in the world, but too little is known about what this drilling boom means for methane waste and pollution. A new science effort led by Environmental Defense Fund with researchers from Penn State, the University of Wyoming and Scientific Aviation will help fill this knowledge gap and better inform state regulators in New Mexico who are moving forward on state methane rules.

This first-of-its-kind study will combine three different types of data collection, utilizing methane measurements from airplanes, a network of towers, and vehicles that take measurements downwind from well sites. All data collected will be shared publically to better inform local communities in southeast New Mexico and West Texas, as well as state regulators and the producers themselves, about the scope and scale of the methane problem in the Permian.

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Posted in Methane, Methane regulatons, New Mexico / Comments are closed

No time to waste: What lies ahead in New Mexico on methane policy?

The Cabinet Room was buzzing with (clean) energy on Tuesday as New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham was joined by her Energy Minerals and Natural Resources (EMNRD) Secretary Sarah Cottrell Propst and Environment Secretary Jim Kenney to sign one of the strongest climate executive orders in the nation.

Crucially, the order also directs New Mexico’s state agencies to move expeditiously and develop comprehensive, statewide methane regulations to cut energy wasted from the oil and gas industry and improve air quality.

Now the question becomes, “what next?”

Governor Lujan Grisham made her wishes for a speedy methane rule development clear in the executive order, directing her EMNRD and Environment Department to enact rules “as soon as practicable.”
And she set a high bar for the strength and inclusiveness of the methane rules when she said that, “Our goal is to eclipse states that are successfully doing this work.”

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