New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham is touting the positive impact of her administration’s oil and gas regulations on the state’s greenhouse gas emissions compared to neighboring Texas. The claim is based on an “independent” study by environmental measurement and analysis firm Kayrros, indicating that New Mexico’s oil and gas operations emit half the emissions of Texas per unit.
The study attributes this difference to New Mexico’s state regulations addressing methane waste and emissions. Governor Lujan Grisham stated, “This study proves what we in New Mexico already know: we are doing the right things at the right time to produce the cleanest barrel of oil in the country.” However, an analysis by The Center Square challenges the study’s accuracy, noting a 25% undercount of Texas Permian Basin oil and gas production.
Data from the Dallas Federal Reserve reveals that in 2022, New Mexico’s Permian Basin production was only one-third of Texas, contrary to the study’s claim. Despite the flaws, the Kayrros study has been endorsed by the governor’s office, which did not respond to inquiries from The Center Square.
Texas oil and gas insiders contest the study’s findings, asserting that methane pollution in Texas has been on a decline similar to that in New Mexico. Ed Longanecker, president of the Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Association, emphasized the industry’s commitment to responsible operations, citing a 76% reduction in methane intensity from 2011 to 2021.
While acknowledging the positive impact of New Mexico’s methane waste rules implemented in May 2021, critics question the accuracy of the study’s comparison between the two states. Methane, considered 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide, is a significant concern in oil and gas production due to leaks and intentional releases.
Governor Lujan Grisham, who issued an executive order on “climate change” shortly after taking office, praised the efforts of Secretaries Sarah Cottrell Propst and James Kenney for their work in curbing emissions from the energy sector in the state. The regulations mandate operators to capture 98% of produced natural gas by 2026 and ban routine venting and flaring. Since their adoption, New Mexico claims a 36% reduction in gas lost and a 69% reduction in routine venting and flaring. Critics, however, question the objectivity of the study and emphasize the need for accurate data in evaluating environmental policies.