The Environment Department and Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department are hosting public meetings this week and next week as part of the methane rule-making process.

We’re at the Albuquerque meeting and share below the public comment Ben Shelton, Conservation Voters New Mexico’s political and legislative director, will be sharing on behalf of our organization.

Because the meetings are largely held during normal working hours, we worked to bring thousands of voices into the room by gathering nearly 2,800 signatures in support of a strong methane rule. These will also be submitted as public comment.

CVNM’s public comment on methane
“My name is Ben Shelton, I’m the political and legislative director for Conservation Voters New Mexico. On behalf of our 19,500 members I’m here today to thank you for recognizing the urgency of curbing methane waste in New Mexico and acting promptly. I’m also here to encourage you to seize this opportunity to confront our methane waste problems head on.

Methane waste is hitting New Mexican communities in triplicate. First, the VOC’s that leak out of faulty and outdated equipment pollutes our air, leading to increased rates of asthma exacting a particular toll on the very young and very old in communities adjacent to oil and gas operations. Second, too much of the wasted methane escapes the state’s royalty and severance tax mechanisms, depriving our educational institutions of badly needed resources. Third, fugitive methane emissions are a significant climate change driver, reducing the odds that the runaway impacts of climate change that we’re already feeling in New Mexico will be able to be curbed in our children’s lifetimes.

Your presence here today and the process you’re engaged in indicates to us that you understand these challenges. We encourage you to take as a baseline assumption that the acceptable amount of methane escaping from oil and gas operations is zero. You’ve already demonstrated some urgency in this process and we hope that it will continue, and urge you target the end of 2020 as a deadline for finalization of this rule. Finally, we hope that you’ll continue to take robust steps to include community voices and participation in your process, as you’ve done here today, including recognizing the multi-lingual nature of our state and the barriers to participation that exist for too many New Mexicans.

I’ve got 2,744 signatures here from CVNM members who couldn’t attend today. Please remember as you take input over these three meetings the great numbers of New Mexicans who care and will be impacted by your action but aren’t able to attend and be heard.”

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