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Methane hotspot is costing some major money

Meg Hilling
September 13, 2017 04:53 PM

FARMINGTON, N.M. -- In 2014, NASA identified the sky above the Four Corners area as home to the largest methane hotspot in the country.

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Through research, scientists have come to find that the hotspot poses more issues than first thought.

"At first they thought there was something wrong with their satellite. They thought there must be … it can't be true," said Jon Goldstein, director of the Environmental Defense Fund. "The science that has gone into this has found that a large part of the problem is leaks from oil and gas wells across the basin." 

It has already been established that methane hotspots can cause a number of issues, such as problems with your health. Scientists are now finding that it may also cause issues such as loss of revenue.

"So the methane that is escaping because these leaks aren't being fixed at the oil and gas wells -- that is product," Goldstein said. "And it is a big problem. It is hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of gas per year across the U.S. that is being wasted this way, $100 million from federal and tribal lands in New Mexico alone."  

It is money that, according to Goldstein, could be put to better use for states like New Mexico by putting in place state level methane rules.

"We ought to be seeing that money. We ought to be putting it into education, roads and bridges and all the needs the state has," he said. "There is a lot of opportunity for a state like to New Mexico to step forward and address the problem."

Robert McEntyre, a spokesperson for the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association, provided KOB with this statement on Wednesday:

It’s not surprising that radical activist groups from Colorado want to depress our economy and devastate local communities with more job-killing regulations and half-baked math. The truth is that oil and gas operators have reduced emissions to a 25-year low and are always innovating and developing technology to protect our environment. Proposals by out-of-state groups would cost our state at least $100,000,000 dollars in lost revenue and royalties, not to mention countless jobs. That only hurts those who rely on the funds the most, like schools, public safety, and health care.

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Meg Hilling

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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