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Congressional delegation urges action against NM’s ‘methane hotspot’

High above the Four Corners, an ominous ‘hotspot’ of methane floats above the states like a sinister cloud. Methane emissions may be dropping in the United States as a whole, but the toxic puff looming over the American southwest landed New Mexico in the ranking as the worst state for methane emissions.

This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise; according to Environmental Protection Agency data, the state leaked, vented or burned 33.7 billion cubic feet of greenhouse gases, which cost an estimated $101 million.

The Centre Daily Times reports that Democratic members of New Mexico’s congressional delegation wrote to the federal Office of Management and Budget on Monday. The letter asked the Office to consider newly-developed rules from the Bureau of Land Management and Environmental Protection Agency regarding emissions in the Permian and San Juan Basins.

Venting, flaring and leaks, they contend, waste natural gas resources and ultimately drain tens of millions of dollars’ worth of revenue from the state and federal government.

The mass of methane vapor has also prompted concern for the environment.

“Pound for pound, [methane is] more than 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide,” Environmental Defense Senior Energy Policy Manager Jon Goldstein said in June. “For folks concerned about climate change, that’s a big deal.”

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