Methane is a powerful pollutant, yet oil and gas facilities release billions of cubic feet of this greenhouse gas into the atmosphere every year. Fortunately, Congress voted to maintain commonsense regulations that curb this waste and its cost to taxpayers.

Methane is the primary component of natural gas and can trap 84 times as much heat as carbon dioxide over a 20-year period. In an unexpected victory, Congress voted 51-49 on May 10, 2017, to maintain requirements that control methane waste from oil and gas facilities on public lands. These rules prevent massive amounts of methane from going to waste, speeding climate change, harming national park air quality and costing American taxpayers millions of dollars per year.

A Powerful Greenhouse Gas

Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas that can have a devastating impact on the climate. Researchers estimate that a quarter of the manmade climate change we’re currently experiencing is a result of methane emissions.

Threat to Parks

Climate change is one of the biggest threats facing our national parks. The glaciers in Glacier National Park are rapidly receding. Sea-level rise threatens hundreds of beloved coastal parks, including Everglades and Biscayne national parks, and Cape Hatteras, Padre Island and Point Reyes national seashores. Increasingly strong storms threaten unique landscapes and historic structures at parks across the country. We must work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions if we hope to minimize the impacts of climate change on national parks.

Threat to Taxpayers

Allowing methane to leak or burn off into the atmosphere causes wasted energy and wasted revenue. Oil and gas companies operating on federal and tribal lands are wasting more than $330 million worth of natural gas nationwide each year through leaks and wasteful practices known as venting and flaring.

Working Toward a Solution

Both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) recently finalized rules that would curb methane emissions from the oil and gas sector, the largest industrial methane polluter. The EPA rules update technical standards to reduce leaks from new and modified sources, and the BLM rules work to limit the damaging and expensive waste of methane from venting and flaring on public lands.

Congress voted to maintain these rules, which represent years of progress on sensible, workable solutions that will benefit national parks.

May 10, 2017: U.S. Senate Votes 51-49 to Not Repeal the BLM Methane Waste Rules.

In an unexpected victory, the Senate voted to not overturn the rule regulating methane emissions from oil and gas facilities on public lands.


  • More than 17,000 Act to Protect Methane Rule

    May 2017

    National park advocates urged the Senate not to eliminate rules on controlling methane waste from oil and gas facilities on public lands by voting NO on S.J. Res 11.

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