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The FBI’s Peter Strzok spends 10 hours in open testimony in Congress. Also on the Friday rundown: Granite Staters protest AG Sessions' approach to fighting opioid abuse, and Latino Conservation Week starts on Saturday.

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Poll: Two-Thirds of NM Voters Support Limiting Energy Waste on Public Lands

PHOTO: The majority of likely voters in New Mexico support a rule that would reduce the energy waste that happens during oil and gas production on public lands, according to a new survey. Photo courtesy of U.S. Department of Energy.
PHOTO: The majority of likely voters in New Mexico support a rule that would reduce the energy waste that happens during oil and gas production on public lands, according to a new survey. Photo courtesy of U.S. Department of Energy.
October 10, 2014

ALBURQUERQUE, N.M. - Sixty-nine percent of likely voters in several oil and gas-rich states, including New Mexico, support a rule that would require oil companies to significantly reduce the amount of natural gas they release or burn off while extracting oil from public lands.

Ross Lane, director at the Western Values Project, says that's the finding of a survey his organization commissioned, which also includes Colorado, North Dakota, and Utah.

"There's overwhelming support for a strong rule from the Bureau of Land Management to address the problem of venting and flaring," says Lane. "It's essentially to say, 'Look, this is American energy and we need to use it, not just watch it go, literally, up in flames.'"

Lane says venting and flaring, which is the release and burning of natural gas into the atmosphere, also means a good amount of energy is wasted, costing taxpayers lost royalty payments. He says it could amount to $800 million in lost revenue over the next decade.

Amy Levin, partner at the Benenson Strategy Group, conducted the survey. She says it shows majority support across party lines for regulation to govern venting and flaring.

"Across the political spectrum, there is still strong support for this policy," Levin says. "We have 57 percent of Republicans supporting a proposed rule and upwards of 80 percent of Democrats. Independents looking a lot closer to Democrats than Republicans, with 72 percent supporting the rule."

Levin adds the survey shows nine out of 10 likely voters believe it's an important priority energy companies pay their fair share to taxpayers for the resources taken from public lands.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - NM