Calling on Land Commissioner Dunn to end his opposition to common sense Bureau of Land Management Rules

The air we breathe directly impacts the health of all in our community. Today a group of public health, community and environmental advocates, and key policy figures gathered outside of the NM State Land Office delivering more than 2,100 petitions and letters from citizens across New Mexico calling upon Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn to end his opposition to the proposed U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) rules to limit oil and gas pollution in our communities.

“It’s sad to see that Land Commissioner Dunn is standing with the oil and gas industry, while our community’s air is being plagued by such dangerous chemicals. As a father my number one goal is to protect my child and that includes protecting the air that he breathes. Land Commissioner Dunn has a responsibility to this community and we need him to support these reasonable rules.” said David Luna, an Albuquerque father from Moms Clean Air Force.

Rules currently under consideration by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) would reduce harmful emissions of methane, volatile organic compounds and other pollutants from the oil and natural gas industry. These commonsense standards would not only help to mitigate climate change and its associated health risks by curtailing emissions of methane—an especially potent greenhouse gas—but would also limit emissions of major precursors to ozone, as well as other toxic and carcinogenic air pollutants, benefiting public health in communities across the country.

“Air pollution from the oil and gas industry is a threat to the health of New Mexicans,” said Dr. Robert Bernstein, New Mexico chapter president of Physicians for Social Responsibility.  “Research shows that oil and gas development can create unhealthy levels of smog and toxic air contaminates that can trigger asthma attacks and cause respiratory illnesses, brain damage, birth defects, and cancer.

“This year, the American Lung Association awarded both San Juan and Eddy counties, the highest natural gas and oil producing counties in the state, with an F grade for ozone pollution. Anyone living within a half-mile of drilling operations is at the highest risk of adverse health effects. It is unacceptable that oil and gas operators pollute our air with toxic emissions, especially when we have cost-effective technologies that would cut pollution and also create jobs, reduce waste, and increase revenue for the industry,” continued Dr. Bernstein.

In recent statements, Land Commissioner Dunn has come out publicly against these modest and reasonable rules. The group will also be presenting the Land Office with over 2,100 letters and petitions from New Mexicans calling on him to end his opposition.

“The role of the Land Office is to optimize revenues while protecting the health of the land for future generations,” said Demis Foster, Executive Director for Conservation Voters New Mexico. “By opposing the sensible methane pollution capture rules, not only is Dunn undermining the mission of his own office, he’s doing so in a way that directly harms New Mexican families. Members of our organizations have spoken up to remind Commissioner Dunn that his job is to protect the health of state lands, not oppose common sense environmental safeguards.”

Contact:
Chelsey Evans, 505-433-1586, cevans@momscleanairforce.org
Liliana Castillo, 575-219-9619, Liliana@CVNM.org

###