This was written by Alex Merlino, Moms Clean Air Force’s New Mexico Field Organizer:
Here in New Mexico, oil and gas development is one of the region’s largest polluters of methane, the main component of natural gas. The problem is so big that you can literally see it from space: NASA has detected a huge cloud of methane pollution hovering over Northwestern New Mexico, and scientists there confirm that methane pollution from oil and gas operations is a significant contributor to the hot spot.
Instead of getting the industry to clean up its act, however, Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke has proposed gutting the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Methane Waste Prevention rule — effectively allowing the oil and gas industry to recklessly spew methane and toxic chemicals into the air. Zinke’s proposal is a recipe for wasting a natural resource, putting our children’s health at risk, and making climate change worse.
Methane is a potent greenhouse gas. Cutting methane emissions from oil and gas operations will help address climate change and the resulting impacts: more severe wildfires and heat waves, and rising sea levels.
More methane waste also means more air pollution that will harm children, especially those living, learning, and playing closest to oil and gas development. Oil and gas operations release dangerous toxics such as benzene and other ozone-forming pollutants that can trigger asthma attacks, worsen respiratory diseases, and even cause cancer. It is unconscionable that our leaders want to revoke standards that protect our children from this industrial pollution.
Secretary Zinke’s proposal constitutes a serious waste of precious natural resources, and it gives the oil and gas industry a free pass to spew harmful pollution into our air here in New Mexico and throughout the West.
Moms are coming together from all over the country to demand that the BLM waste prevention rule remains intact. But we need YOUR voice.
Image: NASA via EDF