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Justin Wasser, (202) 753-7016, jwasser@earthworks.org

Background: A study published Wednesday estimates leakage rates of methane from oil & gas operations in New Mexico’s Permian Basin to be 9% of overall production, making Permian oil & gas extraction among the most climate-polluting of energy sources and causing untold harm to the health of residents who live near operations. Methane is a greenhouse gas 86 times more powerful at warming the atmosphere than CO2 and is released alongside other health-harming toxic pollution. The EPA and New Mexico state government are currently considering rules to cut methane.

Statement by Earthworks Energy Program Director Rachel Kerr:

“The whole Permian Basin is on track to become one of the world’s largest sources of climate pollution. Everywhere there is oil and gas development, from New Mexico to the Gulf Coast, the health of local residents is harmed and the climate crisis is worsened.

“The U.S. EPA and the state of New Mexico should need no more evidence to use their full authority to cut methane pollution. Ultimately, nothing short of declaring a national climate emergency and stopping the expansion of oil and gas right now will prevent a climate and health catastrophe.”

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