Four Corners Methane Map

The Four Corners area (red) is the major U.S. hot spot for methane emissions on this map (dark colors are lower than average; lighter colors are higher). The cloud sits on the New Mexico/Colorado border, where natural gas production is an economic mainstay.

New Mexico and Colorado are pursuing and updating methane rules for their states as the Trump administration rolls back federal regulations adopted in 2012 and 2016 (see CEM No. 1554 [19]).

"The Trump administration continues to look backward on climate," New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said in a statement Aug. 29. "This rule change is only the latest in a series of harmful federal initiatives that will weaken protections for our air, water and land," she added.

State agencies have conducted several stakeholder meetings throughout the state and hope to initiate a rulemaking this fall for goals set by Lujan Grisham, Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department Secretary Sarah Cottrell Propst said in a telephone interview.

Lujan Grisham on Jan. 29 issued an executive order committing the state to the goals of the Paris agreement and pointing to the oil and gas industry as the largest industrial source of methane in the state. She tasked the New Mexico Environment Department and EMNRD with developing rules to address those emissions.

Lujan Grisham's order stressed the environmental necessity of controlling methane emissions, and also pointed to the missed economic opportunity from flaring, venting and leaks of natural gas. Her order estimates an annual loss of $244 million to the state's oil and gas industry from the practices.

Colorado became the first state to adopt methane regulations in 2014 and is revisiting those rules in response to HB 19-1261, passed earlier this year with a call to reduce the state's greenhouse gas emissions economywide. State agencies will begin revamping the rules this fall and held the first stakeholder meeting in July as a result of another new law, SB 19-181, that prioritizes public safety and the environment in regulating the state's oil and gas industry. The Colorado Air Quality Control Commission is reviewing existing rules governing methane and other emissions and considering whether to make them more stringent to conform with the new legislation.