Senators Udall, Heinrich lead successful fight to keep BLM’s methane rule

After being pushed by oil and gas for months to use the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to roll back the
Bureau of Land Management (BLM) methane rule, a motion to debate rolling back the rule failed by just two votes in the U.S. Senate. This is a testament to your commitment and activism. The oil and gas lobby might have more money – but we have you and once again, you made this win possible.

New Mexico is literally ground zero for methane pollution. Not only is there a methane cloud the size of Delaware hovering over the San Juan Basin in the Four Corners region, our families and communities – largely indigenous, Latino, low income, and rural – live among the oil and gas infrastructure that releases methane and other dangerous chemicals into their air unchecked.

This is a huge win any day. But in Trump’s administration against oil and gas on something they were sure they would win? Wow! Senator Tom Udall rightly pointed out that this vote proves, once again, that the combined efforts of small voices can outshout big spenders.

If the CRA was used to get rid of the methane rule, it would have blocked the BLM from EVER attempting a similar measure in the future. Not only is New Mexico in the top two for oil and gas production from federal lands, it has the unfortunate distinction of leading the nation in wasted natural gas or methane from these lands as well — to the tune of more than $100 million worth of gas a year. That’s not just an incredible waste of resources, it’s a dangerous release of pollution that we need to stop.

Thankfully, the U.S. Senate stood tall and blocked the CRA vote from moving forward, with Senators Udall and Heinrich leading the charge. It’s not always easy to do what they’re doing and they deserve our thanks.

Over the last year, CVNMEF supporters like you have taken more than 5,300 actions in support of this important rule and the Environmental rotection Agency’s (EPA) complimentary rule. Each and every one of your actions lead to this moment. We can’t thank you enough.

We’re excited but we’re still gearing up for the rest of the fight. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is calling for a review of the EPA methane rules. If he opens the door for his buddies in the oil and gas industry and public to comment on them again, we’ll need to demonstrate that the public cares about keeping these rules in place.

This recent win kept the BLM methane rule on the books, but it’s effectiveness will depend on the implementation. In the coming months we’ll be encouraging the public to push BLM to implement the methane rules as strongly as possible here in New Mexico as well.

Please take a few moments to call Senator Tom Udall at 202-224-6621 and Senator Martin Heinrich at 202-224-5521 and thank them for their leadership in this fight and for standing with us to protect our health.

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