The Environmental Defend Fund claims methane gas emissions are increasing in New Mexico because of the rapid growth of its oi land gas production in the Permian Basin located in the southeast part of the state.
The group contends statewide emissions of the gas linked to global warming are five times higher than those reported to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
David Lyon, a scientist for the Defend Fund explained the claims are based on an analysis of methane sensor measures at nearly 90 locations in the Permian Basin. They were made in the middle of last year by researchers from the University of Wyoming.
“The Permian Basin has become the pre-eminent, most active drilling basin of anywhere in the country,” said Jon Goldstein, director of regulatory and legislative affairs for the Environmental Defense Fund. “We wondered, what is that doing to statewide methane emissions?’”
The EDF’s new report contends more than 1.1 million tons of methane emissions are linked to oil and gas operations in the U.S. but the majority is from wells and drilling operations in southeastern New Mexico. A previous study by EDF in 2015 stated New Mexico’s annual methane emissions totaled 570,000 tons.
At the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association, spokesman Robert McEntyre accused EDF officials of simply advancing their agenda of more regulations on oil and gas drillers. He said the analysis should not be trusted.
“These studies are designed to do one thing, to show increased emissions despite what the EPA says,” McEntyre told the Albuquerque Journal.