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Rep. Leger Fernández Votes to Restore Obama-Era Protections Against Methane Emissions

June 25, 2021


WASHINGTON - In case you missed it, Congresswoman Teresa Leger Fernández spoke on the floor today in support of S.J. Res. 14, a joint resolution to restore methane public health and environment protections. The House passed the resolution with a bipartisan vote of 229-191, sending it to President Biden’s desk. 

In her speech, Congresswoman Leger Fernández highlighted the work the New Mexico Oil Conservation Commission has done to adopt its own rules to curb methane emissions and called on Congress to follow New Mexico’s steps. 

This legislation will reinstate robust Clean Air Act pollution standards for methane and make a significant difference for public health and in the fight against the climate crisis. 

Rep. Leger Fernandez Floor Speech to Restore Obama-Era Protections Against Methane Emissions

Watch the full speech HERE. 


Floor remarks as delivered: 

I do welcome everyone in this chamber to New Mexico, which is, indeed, one of those beautiful places that I get to call home. 

But you know what? 

New Mexico, my beautiful place I call home, is also ground zero for the climate crisis.

The West is experiencing a devastating drought coupled with damaging wildfires and these are caused - undoubtedly - by the climate crisis we’re experiencing.  

My beautiful state is also home to both the Permian and the San Juan Basins. And because of that we also have some of the highest levels of methane pollution.

We also have some of the highest levels of asthma rates among our beautiful children. 

Every bit of methane that is released is wasted. It is wasted. It is a valuable resource that is released into the air through methane venting, through flaring, and simply because they have not maintained their sites. 

But methane that is released, and flared, and leaked, is also a resource upon which my state cannot collect severance taxes, upon which my state cannot collect royalties. 

So when that methane is leaked, flared and vented, those same children who are suffering from those high asthma rates, they lose the resources that should go into our public education.

I will say that my state, which needs every little nickel and dime, because we are a poor state. And which relies on those oil and gas revenues, what did we do? We recently enacted some of our own rules to curb methane emission from oil and gas activity. 

These rules are now considered to be the best in the country. 

If New Mexico can lead the way, we can follow it here in Congress. Because taking action at the federal level is reasonable, it’s common-sense.  

As Don Schreiber, one of my constituents and a rancher in New Mexico who has those wells on his site says: New Mexicans built our oil and gas infrastructure and these same communities can now design, manufacture, and install the technology to monitor and prevent methane emissions. 

Because, you know what? Regulation spurs innovation and we are looking forward to that innovation and those good jobs that will come from the methane regulation that we will have now when we overturn this rule. 

I’d like to thank my good friend, Senator Heinrich, for introducing and advancing this legislation in the Senate. And my great colleagues here, Representatives DeGette, Lamb, and Pallone for advancing and championing the cause of my wonderful children, and students, and state here on this rule.