Commentary: Yesterday an array of New Mexicans and Four Corners area residents testified in Washington DC against a delay of the EPA's methane pollution standards. The agency should have implemented the Leak Detection and Repair aspect of the rule at the beginning of June, but attempted to stay these rules for 90-days, and action which a DC court denied. The Washington hearings are part of an additional, formal public process to delay the rule for 2 years. Moms, doctors and tribal leaders expressed deep concerns about the agencies actions and the impact on the climate, culture and communities.
Live feed from yesterday's hearings.
Bios and Quotes from hearing attendees.
Gloria Lehmer is a grandmother and former health professional who lives in the middle of New Mexico’s San Juan Basin, an old and large drilling field with approximately 30,000 wells. Scientists recently discovered that a cloud of methane, sometimes referred to as the methane hot spot, is sitting over the Four Corners region, and over Gloria’s home. The hot spot is linked to oil and gas development. "I am very concerned about the economy in her community and State, which is struggling to diversify its rich outdoor recreation & tourism amenities in an area that has long between dependent on the ups and downs of the fossil fuel industry."
Kendra Pinto is from the eastern agency of the Navajo Nation. "I'm here to voice the concerns of the people who are directly affected by nearby oil well sites and the numerous issues community members must deal with throughout the production process of hydraulic fracturing."
Don Schreiber of Devil's Spring Ranch is NW New Mexico lives in "ground zero of the methane hotspot." Said Schreiber, "when I realized that Secretary Pruitt knew that children's health would be harmed BEFORE he stayed methane regulations I thought, 'if someone came on to this ranch to harm my grandchildren, it would be over my dead body.' That's when I knew I had to come to DC and speak out."
Daniel Tso is a former Diné/Navajo Nation Council Delegate from Torreon Chapter in New Mexico. He served on the Navajo Nation Council from 1986-1995. "I am a community member concerned with the adverse impacts of all forms of extraction activities. I became involved in oil and gas issues because multinational oil explorers are running roughshod over my community." Tso has worked to protect the culture and communities in the Four Corners Great Chaco Region.
Lauri Costello is a family physician and outdoor enthusiast who grew up on the beach in So. Cal, went to medical school at UC Davis, and did residency training and private family practice in Spokane WA. She currently living in Durango CO and advocating for single payer healthcare as well as speaking to the health dangers of fossil fuel extraction. "Governmental protections for the health of WE THE PEOPLE and the environment that sustains us are being reversed at an alarming rate. The richest country in the world does not provide healthcare to its people but is, in fact, allowing public health to take a back seat to industry profits"
Emily Bowie is from Durango, CO. "I’m commenting on behalf of the San Juan Citizen’s Alliance members in southwest Colorado and northwest New Mexico who live underneath the Four Corners Methane Hotspot, the highest concentration of methane pollution in the United States. The hotspot originates from waste methane at natural gas development facilities and impacts the health and wellbeing of our community."