Friday, April 29, 2016

New Mexico leaders voice support for methane curbs

A coalition of city and county leaders, including Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales, urged the Obama administration in a letter Thursday to swiftly adopt stringent regulations aimed at capturing methane emissions from oil and gas operations. They are the most recent public officials to weigh in on a mostly party-line debate over how and if methane emissions should be captured, with Democrats expressing support for new regulations, citing health and environmental ramifications, and Republicans objecting to additional government reach and its potential to constrict the oil and gas industry. In coming days, the Environmental Protection Agency is expected to release the first of two sets of highly anticipated federal methane regulations; the second is expected to be released by the Bureau of Land Management this summer. In the letter released Thursday, 68 officials from Colorado, Pennsylvania and New Mexico emphasized the harmful health consequences that have been associated with leaked methane, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to a warming climate — 80 times more than carbon dioxide in the first 20 years after its release. In the oil-rich, northwestern corner of New Mexico, the amount of leaked and vented methane is said to be higher than the amount of gas produced, and it has created a 2,500-square-mile methane cloud over the Four Corners that was discovered via satellite by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in 2014. It is the highest concentration of atmospheric methane in the nation...more

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