New Mexico

Western faith groups and investment firms call on oil and gas lobby groups to support BLM natural gas waste rule

August, 25 2016

Today, 25 socially responsible investment firms and Western faith leaders joined together in a letter calling on oil and gas lobby groups to drop their opposition and support the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s natural gas waste rule, which was proposed earlier this year.

The letter addressed seven trade associations including Western Energy Alliance, Consumer Energy Alliance, Colorado Oil & Gas Association (COGA), New Mexico Oil & Gas Association, New Mexico Association of Commerce and Industry, Colorado Petroleum Council, and La Plata Energy Council. The coalition’s call to action comes as COGA members and western energy producers gather for the Rocky Mountain Energy Summit which kicked off this past Monday in Denver.
Noting Pope Francis and the text of Laudato Si, Joan Brown, osf, Executive Director of New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light said, “Action to support new BLM methane rules are in line to address creation care, climate change and just economics by calling for change in one area of the ‘throwaway culture'”.
“Our letter (copy here) comes on the heels of a ground-breaking report this month by NASA which found that oil and gas operations were a significant contributor behind emissions that have created a methane cloud the size of Delaware hovering over the Four Corners region,” she stated, also pointing out that New Mexico loses $50 million in royalty revenue annually from methane waste.

The group highlighted the more than $330 million<> worth of natural gas oil and gas companies waste annually through venting, flaring, or leaks from equipment and infrastructure on federal and tribal lands, located primarily in the Intermountain West.

“We have a moral responsibility to cut methane emissions and reduce natural gas waste from oil and gas operations on public lands,” said Shantha Alonso, Executive Director of Creation Justice Ministries. Alonso expounded further, “When natural gas is wasted, it means lost revenues that could go to our schools and communities and lost energy that could be heating homes for low-income families.”

The group’s letter also pointed to the employment opportunities available in the methane mitigation sector, along with the economic incentive for oil and gas companies to capture and sell natural gas that would otherwise be wasted, referring to research finding oil and gas companies can use already-available solutions to cut methane emissions “by 40 percent for pennies on the dollar.”

Confronting Climate Change in New Mexico – Action needed today to prepare the state for a hotter, drier future

New Mexico’s climate is getting hotter and drier, driven by regional and global warming trends. This means earlier springs, hotter summers, and less predictable winters. Precipitation patterns are also changing, with more intense droughts and a greater proportion of precipitation falling as rain rather than snow. Shrunken snowpacks and earlier snowmelts contribute to lower stream flows at critical times of the year when the reduced availability of water has greater economic and environmental consequences. To prepare for the expected impacts of these climate trends, New Mexico would benefit from sustained efforts to mitigate the potential consequences of less water, the health impacts of more excessive heat, and increased losses of lives and property from wildfires, while safeguarding the state’s natural resources. Other regions of the world can look to New Mexico’s growing leadership on planning for water-resource stress periods and increasing drought-resilient renewable energy sources.

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Some 15 faith leaders joined in witness at the PRC and PNM hearings on the future plans for energy in the state of New Mexico.

Joan Brown, Executive Director of New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light, spoke with the standing support of over a dozen fellow clergy members urging the PRC to reject PNM’s energy plan.

“In Christian tradition we use the word ‘Kairos’ to describe a moment of truth, an opportune moment, [and] a decisive moment calling for responsibility and action… the Jewish tradition may say this is ‘Teshuvah’, a time to return to the path of life. Buddhism uses such words as ‘being in the now’, ‘being mindful’, ‘waking up’. This is a ‘Kairo’s’ moment to wake up to the the critical moment we find ourselves in regarding our energy policies, climate change, and the future generations.

All faith traditions traditions view creation, and the human family, as sacred gifts of the highest value. Water, air, soil, animals, plants, insects, and every being are interdependent in the web of life…There are no technical issues, debates, or proposals that can go forward without considering the moral, spiritual, and ethical consequences [of] actions affecting these very foundations of life.”

Global Warming Express & Interfaith Clergy Testify to PRC Opposing PNM (1/20/2015)

Santa Fe Interfaith Clergy Testify to PRC Opposing PNM Replacement Power Plan (1/20/2015)

New Mexico Faith Leaders Advocate for Obama to Reject the proposed Keystone Pipeline

NMIPL is pleased that two prominent NM faith leaders were listed as signers in the letter that appeared in Politico in Washington, DC. We are grateful that of the more than 150 faith leaders who signed this letter, approximately 25 were from New Mexico. Thank you for strong prophetic witnesses of faith in action for caring for creation and the future generations!!!!!

New Mexico Advocacy Action

Your stories about what you love and how climate change is affecting these things, people, plants and creatures are needed. NMIPL will share some stories on our website and we will deliver these to our legislators, petitioning them to work for stronger energy efficiency, climate change and water legislation.

Send your story, a photo if you have one, name, city and e-mail to joan@nm-ipl or to NMIPL, PO Box 27162, ABQ, NM  87125.