Santa Fe, N.M. – Today, Conservation Voters New Mexico Education Fund’s (CVNMEF) Rio Arriba Initiative delivered over 700 petitions to Attorney General Balderas’ office in Santa Fe. The petitions were collected from New Mexicans all across the state, thanking Attorney General Balderas for defending the BLM Methane Waste and Protection Rule in court. The BLM’s proposal would require oil and gas producers to take commonsense and cost-effective measures to reduce methane that is leaked, vented or flared from infrastructure, modernizing the existing, more than 30-year-old oil and gas production rules and bringing them in line with technological advances in the industry. The BLM rule was promulgated under the authority of the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920, and impacts federal and Indigenous lands. A vast majority (74%) of New Mexicans support continuing efforts to reduce methane waste.

“The BLM methane waste rule is good for New Mexicans. The rule will help to ensure our communities have clean air, our natural resources are responsibly managed and we see a fair return on public resources owned by us all,” said Valerie Romero, CVNMEF Rio Arriba Organizer. “We can’t let this protection slip away and we thank Attorney General Balderas for stepping up to protect our health, climate and budget.”

“Reducing methane pollution is important because I worry about my family and community as a whole, and the planet where I live. This is my home, and it will be for as long as I live,” said Joshajandy Hernandez, a community member from Santa Fe that joined the petition drop. “As a community, we often need the help of a higher authority to make sure that our voice is heard. It’s important for our decision- makers to care about what the community wants.”

NASA identified a methane “hot spot” the size of Delaware hovering over New Mexico’s San Juan Basin and later identified 25 oil and gas sources that are contributing half of the pollution that makes up the “hot spot.”

Methane is a powerful climate pollutant, warming the planet 86 times more than carbon dioxide. Climate change is already impacting New Mexico by rising temperatures, drying streams, larger and more severe wildfires, droughts and large- scale forest dieback. Toxic chemicals such as hydrogen sulfide, toluene, xylene and benzene are also released alongside methane during oil and gas industry production activities.

CVNM Education Fund is engaging the people of New Mexico in our long-standing shared values of protecting our air, land, water and the health of our communities. We do this by mobilizing people to advocate on policy, enhancing the voting process, encouraging people to vote, cultivating conservation leaders and amplifying the voices of those most affected.