So many people attended BLM’s Farmington hearing on a new proposed rule to curb methane emissions that the room had to be moved – twice – to accommodate the crowd.
While hundreds of oil and gas workers were bussed in to attend the hearing, the citizens who spoke were 2 to 1 in favor of the strong rules that will curb emissions of the super pollutant methane into New Mexico’s air. It’s important that the BLM listen to the majority of New Mexicans who support a strong rule because we are directly impacted by methane emissions.
In 2014, NASA discovered a giant methane “hotspot” the size of Delaware hovering over NM’s San Juan Basin. It is one of the highest concentrations of airborne methane in the nation – and it disproportionately impacts our rural, indigenous and Latino families in the Four Corners region by contributing to higher rates of asthma in communities already coping with a legacy of air and water pollution.
NASA is conducting a study to determine the causes of this “hotspot,” but we know that a lot of methane is released in oil and gas processes. It’s a common practice for oil and gas operations to release tons (literally!) of methane into the air – to the tune of $42.7 million worth in New Mexico since 2009. And yet, the oil and gas industry doesn’t believe they should have to take any actions to correct this issue.
Methane is a super pollutant that is an even more dangerous greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide—in terms of both climate change and quality of the air we breathe.
Methane escapes with other toxic air pollutants like volatile organic compounds that contribute to smog formation and carcinogens like benzene. That means when methane is leaked into our air, it can spike asthma attacks and cancer rates.
Strong rules that curb natural gas leaks and releases are an important first step we can take to reduce methane’s powerful impact on climate change and your health. Take another step in support of strong methane rules by submitting public comment.>>
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is working on rules now – the first safeguards for our air ever put in place for the oil and gas industry – to reduce methane pollution from leaks and intentional venting and flaring. Our health will only be protected if we speak up now, urging the BLM to put strong rules in place. Add your voice by submitting public comment to the BLM.>>