As we leave summer behind (and hopefully the heat) we find ourselves with an array of actions to help do our part to curb the intensity of climate change that is so ever present in our lives.1 Prepare for action: please join our NMClimateCorps this Thursday the 17th at 12pm/Noon (virtual only) to get ready for a week of important action on Clean Cars and Trucks – Improving our Health and Protecting our Climate PLUS BLM’s Oil and Gas Leasing Rulemaking and ABQ Meeting, EPA hearing on greenhouse gas reporting & the proposed Saguaro Pipeline. Thursday, August 17, 12pm/Noon. RSVP here. 2 Take action: Sign this petition by Wednesday, August 16 to stop methane pollution from pipelines. Currently they are only required to fix “hazardous leaks” while others are allowed to persist for years. The proposal is expected to improve pipeline management by requiring operators to fix more leaks, faster. We are asking that the Department of Transportation goes a step further by increasing inspection and repair frequencies as well as requiring improved leak detection technology. 3 Take action: Friday, August 18, 9am – EIB Clean Cars and Trucks Hearing (virtual or in person Santa Fe). The Environmental Improvement Board will consider Advanced Clean Cars and Trucks Standards. In this first meeting where the board will vote to initiate rulemaking and set hearing dates, we need your public comments. You can attend virtually or in person. Click here for more details. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are available to attend (fill out the action alert here). 4 Take action: Friday, August 18, 12:30pm – Saguaro Pipeline Letter Delivery Rally (in person only, ABQ)
Sign the letter here! If you’re available join us for a small rally with signs while we deliver a community letter to the Army Corps of Engineers in Albuquerque calling on the Corps to use the normal process under the Clean Water Act instead of using the expedited approval using Nationwide Permit 12 on the Saguaro Pipeline which will bring Permian gas to Mexico. More details here. Please RSVP. 5 Take action: Monday, August 21, 11am – 2pm – EPA hearing on updates to Subpart W of the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program (GHGRP) (virtual only). Help support improvements to enhance the accuracy of reported emissions from the oil and gas industry. Some of the changes being considered include the incorporation of measurement data (incl from aerial observations), requirement to report large release events and account for these intermittent emission events which right now are excluded, among other things. Please register and email email@example.com for talking points. 6 Take action: Tuesday, August 22, 3 – 7pm – BLM Onshore Oil and Gas Leasing Rulemaking Open House (In person, ABQ). Attend the Bureau of Land Management’s Onshore Oil and Gas Leasing Rulemaking Open House to learn about long overdue reforms to bonding, royalty and leasing rates, and other operating requirements that will protect taxpayers and frontline communities. Please RSVP if you are available to attend. The Crown Plaza located at 1901 University Boulevard NE, Albuquerque, NM 87102. (You can also make a comment here virtually.)
Background on Advanced Clean Cars and Trucks
A broad coalition of New Mexican climate, environmental justice, and business groups filed a petition with the state Environmental Improvement Board and the Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Air Quality Control Board, joining the NM Environment Department in asking the boards to update and finalize their Advanced Clean Cars and Trucks Standards by the end of 2023. Updating and enforcing these standards is critical in addressing the climate crisis and protecting public health. The standards would limit air pollution from vehicle tailpipes and require auto and truck manufacturers to deliver an increasing number of zero-emission electric vehicles (EVs) for sale in the region, saving consumers money over the life of the vehicle. The first hearing on this rulemaking will take place on Friday, August 18th at 9am. Please join our NM Climate Corps meeting to find out how you can participate.
Together, the Advanced Clean Cars and Trucks Standards would deliver significant public health and climate benefits. Reductions in fine particulate matter (PM2.5) would prevent 158 premature deaths and more than 76,000 cases of respiratory illnesses by 2050, according to an analysis by ERM conducted for the petitioners. Greenhouse gas pollution would fall by between 111 and 139 million metric tons by 2050. That’s about as much greenhouse gas pollution the state emits in a year, making the standards one of the most effective climate policies ever adopted in New Mexico.
The petition includes standards for Advanced Clean Cars II to require car manufacturers to sell an increasing number of zero-emission vehicles and reduce pollution from gas vehicles sold in the interim; Advanced Clean Trucks to establish annual zero-emission truck sale requirements that vary by vehicle type and increase over time; and the Heavy-duty Low NOx Omnibus to significantly reduce smog-forming pollution from new diesel-fueled trucks by strengthening the standards for nitrogen oxides and particulates.
Air pollution from cars and trucks is the second-largest source of climate pollution in New Mexico, harming health, environment, and climate. Transportation pollution is a public health crisis in New Mexico, disproportionately impactinglower-income communities, communities of color, children, elders, and anyone with respiratory conditions like asthma. Zero-emission cars and trucks are the fastest way to curb the transportation sector’s toxic air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
On NMClimateCorps we’ll hear from Kathy Harris, NRDC, Allison Kirsh, Sierra Club, Efraim Lopez, American Lung Association, and Liliana Castillo, NM Communications Lead for the Energy Foundation.
Background on BLM Onshore Oil and Gas Rulemaking
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is proposing to revise its oil and gas leasing regulations after Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) last year. The proposed rule includes long-overdue provisions that would update the oil and gas leasing program. For decades, the federal government’s oil and gas leasing program has enabled oil and gas operators to maximize profits, while leaving taxpayers and local communities to pay a heavy price.
The proposed rule would reflect provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act that raise oil and gas royalties, rental rates, and minimum bids, and it would update the bonding requirements for oil and gas operators to pay in order to lease, develop, and produce on public lands. The proposed rule would also improve the BLM’s leasing process to ensure proper stewardship of public lands and resources and would revise some operating requirements.
We’ll feature Sierra Club National Oil and Gas Campaigner, Mike Scott, who will talk about the rule. We’ll also discuss how you can help ensure we get the strongest rules possible and talk about upcoming engagement opportunities.
Saguaro Pipeline Background
We will be delivering a letter asking that the Army Corps of Engineers stop improperly using Nationwide Permit 12 – an expedited process that has been used to approve pipeline projects. The fast track process allows the Army Corps to ignore the environmental impact of projects while also disallowing public participation such as not giving public notice when a project is approved or even when construction begins neighbors are not notified. The public is only able to weigh in on Permit 12 projects every 5 years!
We started to dive in and learn more about the horrible misuse of Nationwide Permit 12 while working against the Saguaro Pipeline (a proposed 48 inch thick gas pipeline from the Permian Basin under the Rio Grande River into Mexico ultimately destined for export to China). Nationwide Permit 12 has been used to fast track major pipelines such as DAPL, Mountain Valley Pipeline, and Keystone XL. Please join us in asking Army Corps to change course and stop misusing Nationwide Permit 12.
Background on EPA hearing on updates to Subpart W of the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program (GHGRP)
On Monday, August 21st, the U.S. EPA will hold a hearing on updates to Subpart W of the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program (GHGRP) which includes improvements to enhance the accuracy of reported emissions from the oil and gas industry such as requirements to report large release events and new emissions factors based on recent measurement studies.
EPA should strengthen reporting requirements in the final rule by (1) more comprehensively incorporating measurement data (including from aerial observations), (2) accounting for intermittent emissions with statistical methods, (3) and providing clear guardrails for operator measurements and self-reporting. EPA should also finalize other important improvements it has proposed to enhance the accuracy of reported emissions, including requirements to report large release events and new emissions factors based on recent measurement studies. Please register to testify if you are interested and available. Here’s the link to register.