Methane rule delay prompts AG to join California lawsuit


New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas is joining his California counterpart in a lawsuit aimed at the Bureau of Land Management and the agency's decision to delay the full implementation of an administrative rule meant to curb methane pollution.

The rule was crafted during former President Barack Obama's administration and was originally meant to go into effect in 2018. The waste prevention rule will now go into effect January 2019.

In a Tuesday (Dec. 19) call with other methane rule advocates, Balderas said the lawsuit is meant to "prevent methane waste and restore some sense of accountability and transparency at the federal level."

Balderas said New Mexico is the second-largest producer of natural gas and that the state relies on the BLM methane waste rule "as an important safeguard for taxpayers."

The BLM has "prioritized a negligible increase in oil and gas operators' profits over the public interest in preventing the waste of a public resource that belongs to the American people," read the complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Northern California. "In doing so, [the agency dismisses] out of hand the harmful impacts of the thousands of tons of toxic air pollutants and hundreds of thousands of tons of greenhouse gases emitted as a result of operators' inefficient, outdated, and wasteful practices."