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New Mexicans Deliver Methane Comments To Local BLM Offices Around State

on November 9, 2017 - 7:17am
BLM News:
On Monday, in Carlsbad, Farmington, Las Cruces, Albuquerque and Santa Fe, faith and elected leaders joined parents, grandparents, scientists and other New Mexicans to deliver comments to Bureau of Land Management field offices.
The comments were among thousands from New Mexico and at least 200,000 nationwide voicing opposition to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s proposed delay of the BLM Methane Waste Prevention Rule for two years.
“The BLM’s Methane rule is win-win for the public, industry and our local economy. We can clean up our air here in the center of the nation’s biggest methane cloud, and the state of New Mexico AND the oil and gas industry can make money plugging their leaks and eliminating waste,” Katee McClure, Aztec city commissioner said. “Capture the escaping methane; use it as an energy source and make money for the state. Clean up the air and create jobs for our community.”
The rule was put in place to reduce methane waste that is leaked or flared from oil and gas operations on public lands. Participants highlighted how a delay would undermine public health and royalty income to New Mexico and allow unattended equipment leaks to continue sending toxic pollution into the air we breathe.
“As faith leaders we are guided by ethical and moral principles of our faith traditions. We are obligated through our sacred writings, documents and teachings to: care for sacred creation; care for our communities, especially those most vulnerable among us; work to have a future that protects land, air and water for the children and posterity; act as good stewards of the resources we have been given and not waste them; and live sustainably in order to address climate change,” said the Rev. Bill Lyons, Minister for the Southwest Conference of the United Church of Christ. “For all of these reasons we are here today calling on the BLM to make no delay in implementing their methane rules.”
Secretary Zinke’s proposal for a two-year delay came after the U.S. Senate, under considerable public pressure, rejected a resolution to block this vital rule. The BLM finalized its rule in 2016, after hearing from more than 330,000 Americans.
Participants in Monday’s events delivered a letter signed by 61 New Mexico faith leaders and written by New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light. They also delivered letters signed by 35 elected leaders, including the majority of the state Congressional delegation, and an array of comments from diverse constituencies around the state.
“Other than saving taxpayers millions of dollars in wasted gas, this rule is also meant to protect the public from harmful and sometimes fatal air pollution,” Southwest Native Cultures Director Terry Sloan said in his comment. “Does not the BLM feel some responsibility to the American citizens of New Mexico?”
“Secretary Zinke’s delay will do nothing to protect our communities. Instead it allows irresponsible companies to disregard leaks of toxic pollution, and it wastes an energy resource that belongs to the American public,” said David Coss, former Santa Fe mayor and Rio Grande Sierra Club chair. Methane is the main component of natural gas. “The BLM rule was put in place to stop industry from wasting $330 million worth of taxpayer-owned natural resources, polluting the air and aggravating asthma in hundreds of thousands of children. We have commented again and again on this issue, and we do it one more time today because we need our leaders to stand up for this common-sense rule instead of undermining the both the financial and community health of this state.”
“An Old Testament scripture states that before us has been set choices for life and death, ‘Choose life that you and your children might live.’ We appeal to you as an ethical leader to choose life by implementing the BLM methane rules as proposed and affirmed by thousands of people of faith,” said the Rev. Andrew Black of Santa Fe’s First Presbyterian Church.