After months of public comments and hearings, today the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released standards for methane pollution from new sources in the oil and gas industry. EPA also released a draft regulation requiring detailed reporting of emissions from existing sources.
New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light (NMIPL) supports the leadership of the EPA which addresses human health and stewardship of creation. NMIPL collected nearly 100 signatures from interfaith leaders and hundreds of signatures on postcards and petitions from people of faith in New Mexico who support the new rules.
We pray in gratitude for the decision today; however, our work is not done. Existing sources of methane pollution must also be addressed as we face the moral and ethical challenge to protect health and address climate change. Brothers and sisters around the world are looking to the United States and New Mexico to live up to our UN Paris agreement to address climate change. The recent commitment President Obama made with Prime Minister Trudeau to tackle existing sources shows leadership and initiative in this area.
NMIPL is very concerned about the status of economy in New Mexico. However, our neighboring state Colorado has shown that doing the right thing for future generations by addressing methane pollution can also save money. A new study in Colorado found that with their new rules more than 1,000 inspections were found and 800 leaks repaired while saving money.
As the only faith based organization in New Mexico working on stewardship of earth and community, the methane rules are very important in protecting sacred creation, our communities, and future generations. Climate change is a serious concern lifted up by all major world religious leaders leading up the UN Paris Climate Change Agreement in December 2015. Pope Francis in Laudato Si: On Care of Our Common Home, focused on climate justice.
Large amounts of methane released from natural gas infrastructures in New Mexico emit methane into the air that harms human health and is up to 86 times stronger than carbon dioxide at trapping heat over a 20 year period. Methane waste has a large impact on climate change and is impacting our most vulnerable brothers and sisters and Earth that we have been charged to care for as a moral responsibility into the future.