PNS Daily Newscast - April 19, 2019 

A look at some of the big takeaways from the release of the redacted Mueller report. Also, on our Friday rundown: Iowa recovers from devastating floods and prepares for more. And, scallopers urged to minimize the threat to seagrass.

Daily Newscasts

Report Names Top NM, U.S. Methane Polluters

Methane emissions from hydraulic fracturing operations contribute to climate change. (MajaPhoto/iStock)
Methane emissions from hydraulic fracturing operations contribute to climate change. (MajaPhoto/iStock)
June 23, 2016

SANTA FE, N.M. - Portions of New Mexico, including the San Juan and Permian basins, are among the areas of the country experiencing high levels of methane pollution leaked by hydraulic fracturing and other oil and gas production. According to the Center for American Progress, 11 companies emitted half of the methane pollution from onshore oil and gas production in 2014, more than 48-million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent.

Barbara Webber, executive director of Health Action New Mexico, said the health effects of methane emissions hit some populations harder than others.

"We know that our state has a high rate of asthma, but the Native American population shows four times the rate of asthma than of any of the races in New Mexico," she said. "So, we think they are particularly bearing a heavy burden."

The report analyzed the San Juan Basin in the Four Corners area and found that Conoco-Phillips is leaking or venting the most methane pollution in the region, followed by BP American and Exxon-Mobil. The report said in 2014, the oil and gas industry emitted more than 5 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in the area.

Alison Cassady, director of domestic energy policy for the Center for American Progress, said there are many companies using solid best practices to reduce methane emissions, but the concern is with those operations that are not.

"This is technology that exists, it's on the shelves, and companies across the country are using it," he said. "Methane is a supercharged global warming pollutant that is much more potent than carbon dioxide, and that's why we're so interested in cutting methane pollution from the largest industrial source, the oil and gas sector."

The Environmental Protection Agency recently finalized limits on methane emissions from new sources, and there are calls for the agency to also set standards for wells and equipment already in operation.

The full report can be read online here.

Mark Richardson, Public News Service - NM