Citing Methane Waste Concerns, Conservation Groups File Protest on New Mexico Lease Sale

Joint Statement from Environmental Defense Fund and The Wilderness Society

October 31, 2018
Kelsey Robinson, (512) 691-3404,
Alex Thompson, (202) 429-3940,

(ROSWELL, NM) Today Environmental Defense Fund and The Wilderness Society filed a formal protest of the Bureau of Land Management’s plans to lease 54 parcels of public land near Carlsbad and Roswell for oil and gas development without adequate controls to limit methane waste. In associated planning documents, BLM estimates this sale, and ones like it, over the next 20 years could add up to 6,000 new wells to the Carlsbad region. This development could lead to the waste of $16.5 million worth of natural gas per year over the next decade, and add over 81,000 tons of harmful pollution to the atmosphere every year.

“By allowing for tens of millions of dollars in more waste and hundreds of thousands of tons in increased pollution, the Bureau of Land Management is putting industry interests ahead of New Mexico communities and taxpayers. As BLM abdicates its responsibility to the people of New Mexico, the state must step up to the plate to reduce methane pollution and waste.”

  • Jon Goldstein, Director of Regulatory and Legislative Affairs, Environmental Defense Fund

“More methane is wasted from oil and gas production on federal and tribal lands in New Mexico than any other state, and yet the Bureau of Land Management continues to foolishly operate as if this fact does not exist. Failing to include any measure to address waste in the lease terms for parcels in the December sale is a bad deal for taxpayers, public health and the environment.”

  • Chase Huntley, Senior Director, Energy and Climate Program at The Wilderness Society

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Environmental Defense Fund (, a leading international nonprofit organization, creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. EDF links science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships.Connect with us on EDF’s Energy Exchange blog, Twitter and Facebook.

The Wilderness Society, founded in 1935, is the leading conservation organization working to protect wilderness and inspire Americans to care for our wild places. With more than one million members and supporters, The Wilderness Society has led the effort to permanently protect 109 million acres of wilderness and to ensure sound management of our shared national lands.