Energy Exchange

3 things to watch as New Mexico begins hearing on new oil and gas air pollution rules

Under Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, New Mexico has made oil and gas air pollution and methane reductions a focus of regulatory improvements, restoring enforcement teeth to the governor’s Oil Conservation Division and finalizing a strong methane waste rule that bans routine venting and flaring earlier this year.

These critical policy efforts will reach a climax starting Monday, Sept. 20, as the state’s Environmental Improvement Board considers landmark new rules proposed by the New Mexico Environment Department that have the potential to dramatically cut pollution from the oil and gas industry, clean up the air and protect the health of local communities.

Here are three things to watch as the EIB hearings unfold.

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

Amid federal rollbacks, new study shows stronger methane rules make economic sense for New Mexico

Over the past month, the Trump administration has pressed forward with rollbacks of federal protections from oil and gas methane pollution — a move that will result in millions of tons of additional emissions every year and endanger public health, air quality and our climate.

The loss of these protections underscores the importance of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s commitment to nation-leading methane rules in New Mexico. Achieving the governor’s goal will require regulators to close loopholes in their proposed rules that would leave emissions from 95% of oil and gas wells across the state unchecked.

Fortunately, new economic analysis reveals that by closing these pollution loopholes the state can deliver strong, cost-effective rules that reduce pollution, safeguard air quality and deliver millions of dollars in public health benefits and increased royalties.

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

By ending routine flaring, Colorado can once again lead the nation

Colorado doesn’t take a back seat to anyone when it comes to protecting residents from oil and gas development, and the state’s track record speaks for itself.

In 2014, Colorado became the first state to directly regulate oil and gas methane emissions. Earlier this year, the state adopted nation-leading well integrity rules to protect residents from leaks and explosions. And just last month, it became the first state in the nation to require air pollution monitoring during oft-neglected early stages of oil and gas drilling.

That’s what makes Colorado’s behind-the-times regulation of venting and flaring an outlier that the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission must address as it considers regulatory improvements later this month.

Due to outdated requirements, operators in Colorado vent and flare (simply burn off) more than $12 million worth of natural gas every year, wasting valuable resources and polluting our air.

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

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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