New Mexico Attorney General calls on BLM to Issue Venting and Flaring Rule

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Michigan

Efforts to reduce polluting emissions from public lands recently got a boost from New Mexico’s Attorney General , Hector Balderas.

By Joshua Mantell

In a letter to the Secretary of the Interior, Balderas calls for prompt completion of a Bureau of Land Management rule to reduce waste of natural gas and methane emissions from production on federal lands.

“The Venting and Flaring Rule will reduce waste of a public resource and provide economic benefits to the people of New Mexico to which they are entitled; will help address a defining issue of our time, climate change; and will provide health benefits to our families,” Balderas says.

And he is right.  Wasting natural gas from federal lands is depriving people of energy that could be used to heat homes and power the nation. State budgets are also seeing lost revenue as a result of the waste of natural gas. As the Attorney General’s letter states, New Mexico has lost more than $42 million since 2009 due to wasted gas. Nationwide, $360 million went up in the air in 2013 alone due to gas wasted from federal lands. This is money that could be going to roads, bridges, teachers and other necessities throughout the country.

Significant new jobs are also waiting to be had when guidelines are finalized. A methane mitigation industry is just beginning to come to fruition that would provide jobs, technology and services to reduce waste and pollution. The services and technology supplied would give an economic boost to communities near oil and gas development.

Guidelines for reducing methane waste are also important in addressing the causes of climate change.  Methane is 84 times more potent in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide and it is making its way to the atmosphere. NASA scientists have found a giant plume of methane the size of Delaware above the northwestern corner of New Mexico.

The Attorney General’s call for swift action to help people in the state needs to be heard and heeded in DC.  

To read the letter in it's entirety please click here

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