New Mexico minister tells UN he fears oil and gas expansion in his state

A minister from Carlsbad, New Mexico is one of those who spoke to the UN’s COP 25 Climate Change Conference in Spain, expressing concern over the growth of the oil and gas boom in his state.

The Rev. David Rogers expressed a fear of environmental damage caused by the fossil fuel industry as it widens its growth in the Permian Basin according to the Carlsbad Current Argus.

The conference, which runs until Dec. 13, featured leaders and experts from across the globe in a series of public speeches and meetings on the mitigation of climate change and pollution.

Rogers, who leads The First Christian Church, Disciples of Christ in Carlsbad in southeast New Mexico – where the Permian Basin’s oil boom was in full force – said the economic advantages of a spike in extraction were being favored above the environment and public safety.

“The voices that tout the economic blessings of oil and gas extraction are perpetrating a lie that is destroying my community and the global community,” Rogers said before world leaders. “The once crystal-clear skies over Carlsbad are now frequently tainted with a dingy brown haze of petroleum-based pollution.

“While it is true that many do get rich, it is on the proceeds of a human and ecological sacrifice zone that is also lining the pockets of a largely transient workforce that will be gone as soon as the shale runs dry or the bottom falls out of the market.”

Rogers also questioned government agencies’ reliance on industry-reported data on carbon emissions. He said he didn’t trust oil and gas operators to tell the truth about pollution.

“Truly there are many in my community who are making a very good living on oil and gas, and most of the local leadership is unified in their unqualified praise of the presumed economic blessings of drilling, fracking and extracting,” Rogers said.

“I have personally seen the (volatile organic compounds) and the methane release that is vomited into our atmosphere. I am here to tell you from my personal experience, as one who lives in the Permian Basin, the industry is not disclosing the whole truth.”

He said the perspective of those questioning the industry is often ignored, and both sides must be heard.

“It is very easy to get caught up in the rhetoric of the passion, but we must remember this is not an economic issue, this is not a political issue, this is a human issue. There are voices on both sides that need to be heard,” Rogers said.

“We need to understand that when people speak out against the oil and gas industry, those are jobs that are at stake and people will defend their jobs. We share one planet. It doesn’t matter where we call home, we are all at home on our planet.”