Monday, March 27, 2023

Not Too Late To Give the Government a Piece of Your Mind


By Lora Lucero

Until February 13, the EPA wants to hear from us about the proposed rule on curbing methane emissions - Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2021-0317.

New Mexicans know all about methane emissions. NASA found a 2,500-sq.-mi. cloud of methane over the Four Corners area in 2014, the largest in the nation. (1) More recently, in 2022 a cloud of methane about 2 miles long was discovered by NASA southeast of Carlsbad, via its Earth Surface Mineral Dust Source Investigation (EMIT) mission. (2)  

New Mexico adopted new methane rules which went into effect in the summer of 2022. The Governor touted these new rules at COP27 and said New Mexico is leading the country in regulating methane emissions. The goal is to reduce methane emissions by over 851 million pounds annually. (3)

However, as late as January 2023, the evidence shows that lack of enforcement allows the oil and gas industry to keep emitting. (4) New methane rules without strong enforcement mechanisms are ineffectual. Self-reporting by the industry is also a big problem. (5)  

That’s why the EPA needs to hear from us. And it’s easy. Check out this quick explanation about how to do it: February 13 is the deadline.

I wrote to the EPA yesterday and told them about the need for good rule-making coupled with adequate enforcement. Enforcement mechanisms for non-compliance must be swift and effective. I urged the EPA to consider the gravity of the impacts that result from non-compliance and require that any industry operator in violation of the rules, be required to suspend and close down operations until such time as the operation can be fully compliant. 







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