On Thursday, embattled Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s New Mexico Environment Department released another extreme anti-oil and gas proposed rule. The rule aims to decimate further the energy sector, which has already been crippled by Lujan Grisham’s policies, such as the Energy Transition Act (the Green New Deal), among other radical financially ruinous measures.
According to a press release from the Department, “Once finalized, the new rule will reduce emissions of ozone precursor pollutants – volatile organic compounds and oxides of nitrogen – by nearly 260 million pounds annually and reduce methane emissions by over 851 million pounds annually. The rule will apply in New Mexico counties with high ozone levels. Currently, this includes Chaves, Doña Ana, Eddy, Lea, Rio Arriba, Sandoval, San Juan, and Valencia counties.”
“In addition to taking this significant step in solving our ozone problem to protect public health, this rule also puts us on course to reach the climate goals we set to reduce greenhouse gas emissions statewide by 45% or more by 2030 by reducing over 851 million pounds of methane emissions,” said Secretary Kenney, referencing the Green New Deal. “This amount of methane is equivalent to the energy needed to power 1.2 million new Mexico homes for an entire year.”
As well, the proposal will eliminate “all exemptions for stripper wells and facilities formerly classified as ‘low potential to emit’ that had been included in the previous draft” of the proposal.
Additionally, the proposed rule sets “foundational requirements for all oil and gas operators to calculate emissions and confirm their accuracy through a professional engineer, perform monthly checks for leaks and fix them within 15 days, and maintain records to demonstrate continuous compliance. Building on the foundational requirements are stricter standards for equipment and processes that can emit larger quantities of pollution.”
The Governor touted the Department’s job-killing, economy-crippling proposal in a video posted on Twitter, where she claimed: “children and seniors, as well as communities of color, are more significantly negatively impacted by poor air quality.” She also claimed her proposal is like “taking eight million gas-guzzling vehicles off the road every year.” It is an interesting point since oil and gas is the only reason many communities across the state have survived at all. That includes anti-oil and gas hotbeds like Santa Fe, where residents get their food and supplies to live from oil and gas via trucks that deliver supplies, electricity in homes, and almost everything used in daily life. The new prposal would drive prices up and harm the poorest New Mexicans the most.
Opponents of the radical rule have a much different thought process on Lujan Grisham’s punitive measures toward industries in the state. Larry Behrens of the pro-energy group Power The Future said, “This proposal proves the Governor didn’t keep her word. The Governor promised to work with our energy workers, instead she puts forth a proposal that is a gift to radical environmentalists.”
“Just like Joe Biden, the Governor is trying to hurt our energy workers by taking executive actions. This rule will close many wells that are still productive, raise costs and ultimately bankrupt many smaller producers, which is the goal of the environmental community,” said Behrens.
He added, “Apparently, the governor isn’t satisfied that gas prices are up more than 65 percent over the last year or that unemployment in New Mexico is at its highest in 30 years instead, she continues to appease her radical environmental supporters with this proposal.”
Gov. Lujan Grisham’s big donor, the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association, took a neutral stance on the extreme Green New Deal and did not fight an extreme gas tax on the poor during the 2021 Legislative Session. The effective Democrat “oil and gas” arm of the Democrat Party made the following statement following the rule proposal:
“NMOGA and our members are committed to protecting the health and environment of the communities where we operate, and we support sound, science-based regulations to reduce methane emissions and ozone levels. Throughout this two-year process, we have been dedicated to working with regulatory bodies to share our industry’s scientific and environmental subject matter expertise. As we review the rule in detail, we will look for opportunities to engage the department with industry’s technical professionals to encourage greater innovation and cost- effective solutions, consistent with other regulatory requirements. New Mexico should be a leader in responsible energy development, and an appropriate regulatory framework will allow oil and natural gas to continue to deliver enormous fiscal and economic benefits to all New Mexicans while reducing emissions, safeguarding natural resources, and improving our environment.”
Before taking effect, the new rule must be considered by the seven-member New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board. A public hearing before the Board is expected this fall. For more information or to submit public comment, that can be accessed here.