By Jon Goldstein and Hillary Hull

A brand new EDF analysis reveals that, over the subsequent 5 years, New Mexico policymakers have the opportunity to eradicate up to 60% of methane emissions stemming from the oil and gas trade by implementing a set of nationally main controls.

Methane is a potent climate pollutant and the primary ingredient in pure gas. Methane that escapes from oil and gas amenities is damaging to the climate and the state’s economic system.

Our analysis finds that by implementing main practices for methane seize, New Mexico could make a critical dent in its headline-making pollution problem, save greater than $5 billion value of pure gas and add greater than $730 million to the state price range over the subsequent decade. These measures will shield kids’s well being and enhance schooling funding for the subsequent technology of New Mexicans.

Diving deep with information

Earlier this year, we drew on the newest methane analysis and the primary publically accessible direct methane measurements from the Permian Basin, and discovered that New Mexico oil and gas operators emit about a million metric tons of methane a yr, 5 instances greater than beforehand understood.

New analysis shows golden opportunity for New Mexico to dramatically reduce oil and gas methane pollution Click To Tweet

For the subsequent part of the New Mexico analysis launched in the present day, we assessed the impression two completely different pollution management situations would have on methane volumes over the subsequent decade.¹

Our modeling instrument permits customers to discover the distinction between alternate administration methods. As an entire, we conclude that the framework offered by the state’s oil and gas trade solely has the capability to reduce 15% of methane emissions in contrast to the 60% discount doable within the subsequent 5 years if the state enacts nationally main controls, reminiscent of quarterly leak inspections in any respect wells and related gear and replaces pneumatic pumps and controllers with “low” or “no-bleed” applied sciences. These necessities have all been applied by main oil and gas regulators and discovered unequivocally to be price efficient at driving important reductions in methane pollution and waste from the oil and gas trade.

These outcomes once more underline the inadequacy of NMOGA’s proposal that, if adopted, would represent the weakest methane laws within the U.S.

Who wins and who loses underneath weak methane requirements

Because capturing methane can generate income for the state, we additionally regarded on the financial impacts of the completely different coverage situations. Under probably the most complete situation, we discovered that by 2030 New Mexico might earn over $730 million in further income to go towards crucial state wants like schooling funding. Under the trade’s proposed mannequin New Mexico would see considerably smaller returns, about $180 million — or about one-quarter of the financial savings underneath extra sturdy requirements.

We additionally checked out potential dangers and advantages to the weak communities dwelling close to the oil and gas fields. The pollution that leaks from oil and gas gear incorporates dangerous pollution that may exacerbate bronchial asthma and trigger most cancers. Populations dwelling shut to these oil and gas amenities, significantly younger kids and the aged, are at a lot better danger for these well being impacts. For instance, there are practically 9,000 kids underneath the age of 5 dwelling in San Juan County (house to New Mexico’s notorious methane hot spot) and over 78% of those younger youngsters reside inside one mile of an energetic oil or gas nicely. In Southeastern New Mexico the numbers are equally putting: 80% of younger kids in Eddy County and 68% in Lea County additionally reside inside one mile of a nicely. Environmental insurance policies that assist reduce 60% of trade’s pollution, as opposed to simply 15%, would subsequently make an enormous distinction to these households.

Learn about pollution impacts in your county here.

Deploying methane requirements the place they’re wanted most

The excellent news is that earlier this yr, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham directed her administration to work collaboratively with stakeholders throughout the state to develop nationally main guidelines to repair the state’s methane drawback. Community meetings kick off early subsequent week in Farmington, Albuquerque and Carlsbad to hear enter because the state develops these guidelines.

It’s clear we’ve got the information and instruments we’d like to reduce methane pollution and shield New Mexico’s most weak communities. There’s a transparent path ahead on wise methane coverage that delivers important reductions in dangerous pollution and will increase in state income, it’s up to the state, the oil and gas corporations and all of us impacted by oil and gas pollution to take it.

¹Future methane emissions ranges based mostly on projections from Rystad Energy, a number one trade analytics agency

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