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New Mexico Governor Grisham again cites flawed study on oil and gas emissions

Data compiled by the Dallas Federal Reserve showed that the Kayrros study undercounts Texas Permian Basin oil and gas production by 25%.

Published: December 4, 2023 6:24pm

(The Center Square) -

(The Center Square) - New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham joined U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael S. Regan and White House National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi to announce the final federal rules that the administration hopes reduce emissions from the oil and gas industry.

The announcement came during a press conference at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Dubai on Saturday.

While explaining her involvement in a press release from her office, Lujan Grisham cited a flawed study, touting her state's supposed emission reduction while criticizing Texas despite its emission reduction.

“New Mexico embarked on drafting our oil and gas rules at a time when the United States’ climate leadership was lagging. Thanks to President Biden and his administration, we are once again leading,” Lujan Grisham said. “We are proud to have laid the foundation for this national rule, which will not only reduce emissions but spur innovation and economic development across the country.”

The EPA worked with New Mexico to develop the new rule, similar to the rules the state adopted to reduce methane and ozone precursors in 2021 and 2022.

"Since adopting its own emissions rules, New Mexico has seen its average monthly amounts of methane released into the air decrease by 55%, while routine venting and flaring by New Mexico oil and gas producers has decreased by 70%," the governor's office said.

The governor's office again touted a flawed study from environmental measurement and analysis firm Kayrros. It said that New Mexico's emissions are half that of less-regulated Texas.

"A national standard promotes greater certainty and consistency for the industry across state lines but more importantly for the communities that live in oil and gas producing areas of the U.S.," the release said.

However, The Center Square previously analyzed the study and found it was flawed.

Data compiled by the Dallas Federal Reserve showed that the Kayrros study undercounts Texas Permian Basin oil and gas production by 25%.

Therefore, the pollution comparison between New Mexico and Texas is far less favorable than the governor claims.

Also, Texas oil and gas insiders say the state's methane pollution, like New Mexico, is also declining.

“While there’s no shortage of groups out there who can cherry-pick or manipulate data using inferior technology and biased analysis to suit their interests, the truth is Texas producers are committed to responsible, safe operations, and we’ve seen the positive impacts of those commitments in recent years," Ed Longanecker, president of the Texas Independent (oil) Producers and Royalty Owners Association, previously told The Center Square. "Through continuous innovation and collaboration between industry and regulators, methane intensity in the Permian fell by over 76% from 2011 to 2021, and flaring intensity decreased by more than 34% from 2020 to 2021. That hard-earned progress is the result of an industry-wide commitment to responsible operations.”

New Mexico’s methane waste rules touted by the federal government took effect in May 2021. The rules mandate that all operators have to capture 98% of their produced natural gas by the end of 2026. Plus, the rules ban routine venting and flaring.

Since the rule took effect, New Mexico has seen a 36% drop in gas lost and a 69% reduction in routine venting and flaring, according to the state.

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