July 23, 2020 Read More →

New Mexico proposes strict new limits on methane emissions from oil and gas producers


New Mexico this week proposed rules that would require its oil and gas industry to capture at least 98% of its emissions of the powerful greenhouse gas methane by 2026, a standard it said would be among the strongest in the nation.

The proposal, announced by state officials on Monday after consultations with industry, would impact drillers in New Mexico’s portion of the Permian Basin oil hub where production has surged in recent years.

“The draft rules lay out an achievable but ambitious timeline and leaves room for innovation in the oil and gas industry, incorporating key feedback received throughout the process,” said New Mexico Oil Conservation Division Director Adrienne Sandoval.

Other states have also implemented plans to cut methane emissions, including Colorado and Pennsylvania. The Trump administration, meanwhile, has reversed Obama-era regulations seeking to slash the emissions, calling them unnecessary and harmful to development.

New Mexico is seeking public comment on the proposal before finalizing it.

The Environmental Defense Fund said New Mexico’s drilling industry emits approximately a million metric tons of methane a year. That is the climate equivalent of 5.4 million cars, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

[Valerie Volcovici]

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