VIDEO: A Major Victory for Clean Air
Today we were able to defeat an effort by President Trump and Republicans in Congress to roll back common-sense protections to reduce methane pollution. Today's vote in the Senate was a major victory for our nation's decades-long commitment to protect the air we breathe.
I hope you can take a moment to watch my speech on the Senate floor.
As a greenhouse gas, methane has over 80 times the global warming potential as carbon dioxide in the short term. But even absent its consequences for climate change, methane leaks waste valuable energy resources and harm public health. When methane leaks from oil and gas wells, harmful carcinogens like benzene leak into the air alongside it. That means children are suffering more asthma attacks, and seniors are having trouble breathing.
Three years ago, satellite images from NASA revealed a massive cloud of methane-approximately the size of Delaware-sitting over the Four Corners region in northwestern New Mexico and southwestern Colorado. Researchers later identified leaks from natural gas wells as the major emitters contributing to the methane air pollution "hot spot."
Last year, when the Bureau of Land Management updated 30-year-old regulations governing natural gas operations on public and tribal lands, we took a major step forward in saving taxpayers' money and energy resources. When oil and gas companies modernize their equipment to reduce leaking and flaring, they are able to capture more natural gas that they can put to beneficial use heating homes and fueling power plants. Reducing methane waste will also lead to increased royalties that pay for public schools in New Mexico.
I was proud to stand with the thousands of New Mexicans who support this common-sense protection of public health, air quality, and responsible development of our natural gas resources. I encourage you to contact my office about the issues you care about. As today's vote showed, it makes a difference.
United States Senator