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Oil And Gas Industry, Enviromental Advocates React To Ruling On Methane Emissions Limits

Laura Paskus
Methane flaring in northwestern New Mexico.

A federal judge on Wednesday denied efforts to delay an Obama era regulation that’s intended to reduced methane waste.

Oil and gas industry representatives oppose the rule, and say they need more time to improve their facilities to better capture emissions.

Robert McEntyre, director of communications for the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association, said the rule will hurt the economy here. Producers need the government to streamline the permitting process, he said, so that they can build the infrastructure to capture and sell the methane, “not impose costly regulations or costly financial penalties for methane emissions.”

He said the industry has already implemented safety policies and reduced methane emissions.

The regulation is supposed to go into effect in January 2018.

The judge's ruling is good for New Mexico, said Camilla Feibleman of the Sierra Club Rio Grande chapter, but the Trump Administration will continue pushing for more deregulation.

“The reality,” she said, “is that he has people heading environmental agencies that are very carefully dismantling all sorts of environmental rules that help to keep our communities clean.”

Feibelman said the rule won’t hurt New Mexico’s economy and pointed to Colorado where they didn’t see a dip the economy after limiting methane emissions.