WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, denounced the Trump administration Bureau of Land Management (BLM) finalizing its weakened rule on methane waste for oil and gas operations on federal public lands.
"Once again, the Trump administration is showing its true colors through a short-sighted policy decision that willfully ignores accepted science. We have a moral obligation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate our contributions to climate change," said Heinrich. "This issue is not a case of pitting development of our energy resources against human health. The common-sense and cost-effective protections in the original methane rule were put in place by the Obama administration to reduce harmful methane pollution and to ensure that oil and gas operations are using technological advances that minimize emissions and maximize the amount of natural gas we produce."
Last year, Heinrich led a bipartisan group of senators who successfully voted down an effort to repeal the Obama-era BLM methane waste reduction rule.
In New Mexico alone, over $100 million in taxpayer-owned natural gas is wasted each year from federal public lands. Four years ago, satellite images from NASA revealed that a giant cloud of methane-about the size of Delaware-is sitting over the Four Corners region in northwestern New Mexico and southwestern Colorado.
"Minimizing the amount of methane that leaks, vents, or flares, out of oil and gas wells isn't just good for air quality: it's good for business and the bottom line. When oil and gas companies modernize their equipment to reduce leaks, they are able to capture more gas that they can sell, as well as increase worker safety at their wells. Capturing more gas also means more royalties and revenues for states, tribes, and local communities," said Heinrich.