New Mexicans testify in Denver against gutting of EPA methane safeguards

Media advisory. Contact: Camilla Feibelman, camilla.feibelman@sierraclub.org

Tribal, faith and youth leaders in addition to impacted community members support common sense methane protections 
that protect communities living near oil and gas developments from harmful air pollution.

 (Denver, CO) — On Wednesday, Nov. 14, starting at 8 a.m. Mountain, an array of New Mexicans are testifying at a public hearing in Denver, speaking out against the Trump administration’s plan to gut EPA’s New Source Performance Standards for oil and gas facilities.  Their testimony will be live-streamed at www.facebook.com/NMSierraClub/.  Participants will outline why we need to keep methane-pollution limits that protect Americans from harmful methane pollution.

EPA’s methane rules, which were finalized in 2016, are proven and cost-effective safeguards that companies have been required to comply with for well over a year. These commonsense safeguards were designed to cost-effectively reduce methane pollution, a potent greenhouse gas, from oil and gas operations, and help to protect communities from other harmful pollutants released alongside methane, such as benzene and other smog-forming pollution. President Trump and Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s plan to weaken these protections is bad for Americans bearing the increasing costs of climate change and bad for an industry trying to compete in a cleaner-energy economy.

WHAT: Live-streaming of New Mexicans testifying at Denver, Colorado hearing on the Trump administration’s proposed rollback of EPA’s methane pollution standards


Rev. Jim Therrien, Pastor of Lybrook Community Ministries, New Mexico Interfaith Power & Light
Robyn Jackson, Climate and Energy Outreach Coordinator, Diné C.A.R.E.
Lori, 10 years old, Student participant in the Global Warming Express, kids climate action program
Gloria Lehmer, Resident of Farmington, NM and impacted citizen
Alex Merlino, New Mexico Partnership for Responsible Business
Derrick Toledo, Clean Energy Fellow, Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club and member of Jemez Pueblo
Keely Scheffler, President, UNM – Sierra Student Coalition
** To contact any of the hearing participants please call, Camilla Feibelman at 505.715.8388

WHERE: Live on facebook.com/NMSierraClub/ from EPA Region 8 Office in Denver, CO

WHEN: Wednesday, November 14, 2018, Starting at 8am MT


  • Methane is the primary component of natural gas. When it is leaked, flared or vented by the oil and gas industry, New Mexico loses as much as $244 million worth of natural gas per year and tens of millions more in tax and royalty revenue for our education system.
  • Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas – 86 times more potent than CO2 over 20 years.
  • New Mexico oil and gas operations leaked, vented or flared 570,000 tons of methane each year (much of it extracted from our public lands), enough to meet the annual heating and cooking needs of every home in the state.
  • When methane gas leaks or is vented, it also releases dangerous carcinogens and compounds that contribute to smog and air pollution, which lead to illnesses including cancer and asthma.
  • In the last four years, half of our nation’s methane waste on federal and tribal lands has come from New Mexico.
  • 93% of methane waste in New Mexico is avoidable.
  • 74% of Westerners support requiring oil and gas producers on public lands to use updated equipment preventing methane gas leaks.


Reverend Jim Therrien
 is the Pastor of Lybrook Community Ministries, Lybrook, NM near Chaco Canyon, working with Navajo people in the area and who are part of the faith community there.  This community is facing expanded oil and gas extraction and the associated impacts on the environment and people’s quality of life. [New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light Testimony]

Robyn Jackson is based in Arizona and is the Climate & Energy Outreach Coordinator for the Navajo environmental justice organization, Diné Citizens Against Ruining our Environment. Diné C.A.R.E., is an all-Navajo member organization, based on the Navajo Nation. Since 1989, Diné C.A.R.E. has been advocating and organizing across the Navajo Nation to protect their homelands from multiple threats posed by the uranium, fossil fuels, and timber industry.

Lena is a naturalized American, originally from Armenia. She cares deeply about the environment and teaches her children to love and respect the Earth.  Lori is 10 year old that loves nature and the Earth and wants to protect it.  Mother and daughter from Albuquerque, New Mexico.  Lori is a participant in the Sierra Club – Rio Grande Chapter’s Global Warming Express program, an after-school, climate action Club for kids. (Last names are withheld for kid participants). [Lori’s Testimony]

Gloria Lehmer is a lifelong resident of Farmington and healthcare professional for more than two decades, Gloria has seen up-close all aspects of the fossil fuel industry in her hometown and lives under the methane hot spot. This methane cloud is the largest area of elevated methane concentration ever measured in the U.S., and is so big scientists can spot it from space. As an active member of her community as well as a mother of six and grandmother to eight adoring children, Gloria is compelled to speak out against the health harms associated with reckless methane pollution. [Gloria’s Testimony]

Derrick Toledo is the Clean Energy Fellow for the Sierra Club’s Rio Grande Chapter where he is completing a year long program with Institute of Policy Studies in Washington D.C. He graduated from the University of New Mexico in 2015 where he studied Multimedia Journalism and Marketing Management. Before going to D.C. in the Fall of 2017, he was previously the audio engineer for the award winning and nationally broadcasted Native America Calling and National Native News. Derrick is a member of Jemez Pueblo. [Derrick’s Testimony]

Keely Scheffler is a Sophomore at the University of New Mexico, majoring Political Science and Journalism. Since beginning college, Keely has found a passion for bettering our earth through climate justice campaigns. At UNM, she is a founding member of the UNM Environmental Coalition as well as president of our Sierra Student Coalition chapter. Currently the Coalition is working on a leading our campus in a transition toward renewable energy. [Keely’s Testimony]

Alexandra Merlino’s Testimony

 New Mexicans testify in Denver against gutting of EPA methane safeguards