Today, U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) introduced the Methane Waste and Prevention Act of 2019, a bill that would enact common-sense and cost-effective solutions to reduce methane waste and pollution from oil and gas operations on public lands, protect taxpayers, safeguard public health and mitigate climate change. Reps. Ben Ray Luján and Deb Haaland are co-sponsors of the bill. The legislation would codify the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s Methane Waste and Prevention Rule and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s New Source Performance Standards finalized in 2016, and would take the BLM rule a step further by providing even greater safeguards to prevent waste from development on public lands.
Statements from local organizations lauding the bill:
“Navajo communities in northwest New Mexico can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that Representatives DeGette, Luján, Grijalva, Lowenthal, and Haaland just introduced strong and comprehensive legislation to protect them and people across the country from harmful oil and gas pollution. We are thankful to have leaders in Congress, and several who directly represent us in New Mexico, who recognize the urgency of addressing methane pollution to keep our air clean, address climate change, and prevent the needless waste of our shared natural resources. Now is the time to hold industry accountable and to put an end to our communities’ suffering from exposure to air pollution from oil and gas development.”
-Carol Davis, coordinator, Diné Citizens Against Ruining our Environment
“The Trump administration’s hostility toward urgently needed action to prevent methane pollution and waste from oil and gas production is premised on a reckless disregard of the American West’s public lands, wildlife, and communities. We applaud the introduction of this bill, in particular by Representatives Luján and Haaland, as a sensible step to ensure the oil and gas industry is held accountable for its pollution and waste.”
-Erik Schlenker-Goodrich, executive director, Western Environmental Law Center
“New Mexico has the dubious distinction of living under a methane cloud the size of Delaware – a cloud caused by the leaking and venting of methane by oil and gas producers. We support Reps. DeGette, Ben Ray Luján, and Deb Haaland’s work on strong and comprehensive methane standards and their efforts to urgently address climate change and air pollution. We must hold the oil and gas industry accountable for wasting our shared natural resources, fouling our air, and harming the health of our children, families, and communities.”
–James Jimenez, executive director, New Mexico Voices for Children
“Representative DeGette’s bill not only makes sense for the environment and people’s health, but protects a valuable resource that belongs to all of us. We can no longer afford to let those dollars go to waste while continuing to pollute our air and are proud that Representatives Deb Haaland and Ben Ray Lujan are co-sponsoring a bill that has so much relevance to New Mexico.”
-Glenn Schiffbauer, executive director, Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce
“Now is the time for moral leadership to protect our families’ health care for God’s creation and the common good. Representative DeGette is a leader with convictions to address climate change, work for comprehensive methane standards, and stand up for responsible stewardship. We must act for the future and the children.”
–Sister Joan Brown, executive director, New Mexico Interfaith Power & Light
“Representative Diana DeGette’s bill is a crucial step forward in the fight to address the climate emergency, protect public health, and reduce methane pollution.
“Rep. DeGette’s much-needed legislation holds both the EPA accountable for fulfilling their missions to ‘protect human health and the environment’ and the BLM to ‘sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.’ This legislation offers common sense solutions to protect communities across New Mexico from the harmful pollution that makes it hard to breathe – and holds the oil and gas companies responsible for that pollution accountable.
“Our families’ health and well-being must always come before the profits of powerful polluters. Representative DeGette is a champion for strong and comprehensive methane standards, and I support her efforts to urgently address this climate emergency and worsening air pollution in communities in New Mexico and across the country.”
–Barbara Webber, executive director, Health Action New Mexico
“Representatives DeGette, Luján and Haaland are standing up for job-creating, health-improving, royalty-increasing, climate-protecting methane standards that the Trump Administration has gutted, putting New Mexicans at risk. If this legislation passes, the Trump EPA will finally be accountable for fulfilling its mission to ‘protect human health and the environment’ and the BLM to ‘sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.’ Meanwhile the Trump Administration is allowing private industry to remove a public resource from our public land and reap unimaginable profits while refusing to enact the most basic good-neighbor practices. We are thankful to these legislators for standing up for our families and communities.”
–Camilla Feibelman, director, Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter