[BREAKING] NM’s Attorney General challenges Trump methane rollbacks in court

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flaring of associated gas at oil refinery

New Mexico’s Attorney General Hector Balderas joined California’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra in taking the Trump administration to court to challenge rollbacks in methane emissions standards. The legal action charges that the move from Trump’s Department of the Interior violates a host of existing regulations and protocols designed to update industry standards that otherwise have operated under decade-old rules.

State Auditor Hector Balderas

Oil and gas companies vent or flare a significant amount of methane gas during their operations that, besides having negative effects on the environment and New Mexican’s health, wastes a significant amount of a product that otherwise could be utilized to fuel New Mexico homes and other services.

The move comes as new polling data in New Mexico shows overwhelming support from a broad swath of the general public for common sense measures designed to limit methane emissions from the oil and gas industry.

A new poll conducted by The Majority Institute released this week shows that New Mexicans across the state support strengthening the state’s rules on limiting methane pollution that is leaked, vented or flared from oil and gas facilities. The poll shows support from both sides of the political spectrum and across wide-ranging backgrounds.

In a press release yesterday about the poll, ProgressNow’s Lucas Herndon was quoted saying:

“This new poll makes concrete what we’ve always suspected – broad, strong support for a common-sense rule to limit methane pollution and natural gas waste exists. It’s good for our air, for the health of all New Mexicans, and is desperately needed to address the $27 million in lost taxes and royalty revenues each year.” 

Earlier this year, over 700 people attended a live, multi-city town hall event hosted by ProgressNow New Mexico with Senator Tom Udall to address the ongoing issues surrounding methane venting in the state.