County resolution on methane emissions highlights difference between San Juan, Permian basins

Hannah Grover
Farmington Daily Times

AZTEC — The San Juan County Commission is urging state officials to develop regulations about methane emissions that do not treat the San Juan Basin the same as the Permian Basin.

Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution asking for a balanced approach to regulating methane emissions from oil and natural gas production.

The resolution warns that aggressive regulations focused on the Permian Basin could have severe impacts on the industry in the San Juan Basin, where many of the wells are older and produce less oil or natural gas.

In addition, the resolution states methane in the San Juan Basin comes from other sources, including natural occurring seepage, as well as oil and gas production.

An oil and gas production site is pictured Nov. 3, 2014 in Lybrook.

"Natural gas, in our area, is 90 percent methane," said Commissioner Jim Crowley during the Aug. 27 meeting.

MORE:The state is drafting new methane regulations, but some fear that will devastate an industry

The governor has tasked two state agencies — New Mexico Environment Department and Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department — to create comprehensive, cohesive regulations.

Opinions throughout the state are divided on what the regulations should look like.

Crowley said the state does not need extreme regulations that blanket the entire state. 

"The San Juan Basin is different than the Permian," Crowley said. "You can close all the wells in San Juan County and you would still have methane because it seeps out of the ground."

San Juan County Commissioner Jim Crowley provides input on methane regulations.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at

Support local journalism with a digital subscription:


'Make sure it happens for our sake over here.' Residents encourage regulating methane

Oil and gas industry association provides input on methane emission monitoring in New Mexico

New Mexico cracking down on oil and gas methane waste, Heinrich and Udall call for action