Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

New Mexico ranchers want EPA to crack down on oil and gas emissions

NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – New Mexico ranchers are among those urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to enact tougher emissions regulations in the country. Many showed up this week to speak out at the public forums being held by the agency as they consider a crackdown on harmful pollutants. Many of those come from oil and gas wells.

Rancher Don Schreiber, who said he lives next to 122 active wells in Rio Arriba County, claimed he is constantly reminded about the toxic gases and pollutants flowing through New Mexico’s air. Some are so concentrated they’ve been picked up by NASA’s cameras.

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Schreiber said his family has seen the effects of those emissions near his Devil’s Springs ranch for more than two decades. The closest well is just a quarter mile from his home.

“It is easy to locate our ranch. We are right underneath the infamous Four Corners’ methane hotspot, which was created by methane leaking and venting from wells just like this one. It is easy to locate our ranch, we are right underneath the infamous four corners methane hotspot, which was created by methane leaking and venting from wells just like this one. There are 122 wells just like this one on and around our small ranch. We are never out of sight, the sound and smell of leaking and venting gas wells,” added Schreiber.

Schreiber said he wants the EPA to do more than just hear his pleas but to take action.

“Frontline families that pay daily the price of oil and gas impacts, impacts that are the worst for the most venerable families and communities, children, older people., those already suffering health problems. Faster identification of super emitters is vital, monitoring of abandoned wells is vital, thank you, but we need stronger flaring regulations, and we need them now. We need stronger regulations for storage tanks, and we need them now.”

The proposed rules would force, among other things, oil and gas companies to do more to manage methane leaks. They would have to use infrared cameras, check for leaks more frequently, and repair them more quickly. The EPA proposal to improve monitoring requirements would reduce gas emissions by over 80% by 2030.

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