Wednesday, January 13, 2016
New Mexico is #1 in natural gas wasted on public lands
By Kent Salazar
...When methane is released into the air through venting, burned off through flaring, or lost through leaky equipment, oil and gas companies are taking and wasting our resource—a finite one. And that is unconscionable. In 2014 alone, New Mexico’s oil and gas producers reported wasting more than 180,000 metric tons of methane—enough to heat more than 168,000 homes each year. It’s largely avoidable, which makes it even more unacceptable and disrespectful to future generations that will have to deal with the consequences of this waste.
Venting and flaring is not only wasteful from a moral perspective, but it is also costing the people of this state millions each year. A report commissioned by the Environmental Defense Fund found that New Mexico ranks number 1 in lost natural gas—an estimated $100 million worth of gas is lost each year. That means New Mexicans are missing out on millions of dollars in income from lost royalties and taxes that could have gone to things like schools and infrastructure.
180,000 metric tons of methane each year going up into the air is even more serious when you think about the costs it has on our health. Alongside methane, oil and gas operations release toxic pollutants such as benzene as well as volatile organic compounds that create smog which harms lungs— increasing asthma attacks, aggravating lung diseases, making the lungs more susceptible to infection, creating lung scar tissue, and much more.
We informed you of the EDF study and NM's ranking in June of last year. Not surprising, especially if you remember this from December of 2014.