March 28, 2016

ACTION: A smarter, cleaner way to drill for oil and gas (and fund our schools)

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New Mexico is home to green chile, Route 66 and the world’s largest methane cloud.

Two of those three are pretty cool. But what if we could get rid of the other and add $50 million to New Mexico schools without raising taxes a penny?

That’s a pretty good deal, right? You betcha!

In recent years, New Mexico has had over 50,000 active oil and gas wells. Together those wells generate millions of dollars in royalties for New Mexico’s schools and other programs, except for the over 30 million MCF (thousand cubic feet) they instead vent or flare off into the air.

Sidebar: What is venting and flaring? Earthworks has the answer: When natural gas is produced as a byproduct of oil extraction or presents a safety problem operators will often vent (release into the air) or flare (burn) the gas.

Not only is sending all that gas into the air bad for our environment, but every bit of emissions companies choose to waste is exempt from royalties our schools are owed. It adds up: A new report puts that number at more than $50 million wasted since 2010.

But before he leaves office, President Obama has proposed a new rule requiring drillers to reduce leaks, capture the gas and pay royalties (i.e. money to our schools) on gas they are spewing and burning today (read the White House fact sheet here)

Time is running outBLM just announced that public comments on the rule will close in just three weeks and New Mexico’s oil industry is organizing to deliver thousands of letters to keep things just as they are.

Send your comments supporting this rule to BLM before the April 22 deadline.

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You know what to do: Use the “COMMENT NOW” button above and help us add 1,000 comments supporting President Obama’s rule to cut waste of our natural gas, help our schools and help us all breathe a little easier.