Methane Waste on the Navajo Nation

Mar 13, 2017
The San Juan Basin contains the nation's highest concentration of methane, which is an 86 times more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. In 2013, New Mexico wasted more than 250,000 metric tons of methane through leaks, venting and flaring - double the greenhouse gas emissions of the state's 700,000 cars. Oil and gas companies waste nearly $100 million worth of gas every year on tribal lands alone. This is a wasted opportunity to bring much needed revenue to infrastructure, education and health care for tribal communities through royalties on federal minerals.

The BLM recently adopted a rule that will cut methane waste on federal and tribal lands, reduce pollution and help ensure a fair return to tribal governments. The BLM Methane Waste Prevention Rule requires operators to modernize their equipment and adopt best practices to reduce gas leaks, increase gas capture and reduce venting and flaring. The rule requires companies to pay royalties on vented and flared gas where the practice could otherwise be avoided, bringing in revenues to tribes and states while reducing hazardous air pollution. For these reasons, the Northern Navajo Agency Council and Navajo Nation President Begay recently signed documents strongly supporting the BLM rule, and opposing congress and industry's efforts to roll back the rule using the Congressional Review Act.