Gov. Susana Martinez is urging Congress to repeal a federal rule that seeks to stop the waste of methane from oil and gas producers.
Martinez sent a letter to U.S. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., outlining her opposition to the rule, which was put in place by the Bureau of Land Management during the Barack Obama administration. Martinez argued that it would mean less royalties to state and federal governments.
“Rather than allowing this misguided rule to move forward, I urge you to repeal the rule and work with the Department of Interior to address the infrastructure challenges currently causing venting and flaring events to occur,” Martinez wrote. “Insufficient pipeline capacity and gas processing capacity make it difficult for producers to capture and sell as much of their product as possible.”
Martinez sent the letter to Ryan on Friday. This Monday, House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop, R-Utah, and Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Chairman John Barrasso, R-Wyoming, introduced legislation to repeal the rule.
Environmental groups criticized Martinez.
“Just today, polling revealed that 74 percent of New Mexicans support the BLM methane rule. It’s disappointing that Gov. Martinez is opposing these common sense rules to reduce methane waste and save much-needed tax dollars, given how strongly New Mexicans support them,” Conservation Voters New Mexico Education Fund Program Director Molly Sanders said in a statement. “Once again, Gov. Martinez has shown how out of step she is with what New Mexicans want.”
On Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Tom Udall defended the rule while in the Senate Commerce Committee.
Udall said 375 billion cubic feet of natural gas from publicly-owned lands was leaked, flared or vented since 2009.
“In New Mexico, this happens on a yearly basis,” Udall said. “In one year, $100 million are lost to the taxpayers of New Mexico.”