Press Release Feb 3, 2017

House Methane Move Hurts Parks

Reversal of waste rule will worsen climate change at taxpayer’s expense.

WASHINGTON – The House of Representatives today voted to overturn the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Methane and Waste Reduction Rule, a common-sense policy to ensure natural gas extracted from federal lands is not unnecessary wasted at the cost of the taxpayer.

Methane, the primary component of natural gas, is a significantly more powerful driver of climate change than carbon dioxide. It is also a major contributor to smog, a threat to national parks and the health of their visitors. More than $330 million worth of natural gas is wasted on public and tribal lands each year from leaks, the burning of gas, or the intentional venting of gas into the atmosphere. Since no royalties are paid for this wasted resource, taxpayers could lose $800 million in royalties over the next decade due to wasted gas.

The BLM’s rule requires the oil and gas industry to reduce venting, flaring, and leaks at drilling operations on public and tribal lands by deploying methane mitigation technology. Economic studies have found the technologies and practices included in this rule to be very cost effective since the gas captured can be sold to the benefit of industry and taxpayers. The BLM estimates the rule’s net benefits range from $115 to $204 million per year.

These rules were crafted after years of careful comment and public comment to protect public health and ensure revenue to the federal government and Western states. The House of Representatives held this vote under the Congressional Review Act, meaning that if this resolution passes the Senate and is signed into law, it will prevent the BLM from ever issuing a similar rule in the future unless directed by Congress.

Below is a statement by Nicholas Lund, Senior Manager of National Parks Conservation Association’s Conservation Programs:

“Today’s methane rule repeal is a direct strike at national parks and other public lands. To repeal a law that saves money, can be implemented with existing technology, and helps clean our air flies in the face of logic. When oil and gas facilities leak or vent methane, they harm national parks, waste taxpayer money, and contribute to climate change. By not only repealing this rule but doing in such a manner to prevent the BLM from ever producing a similar rule means we are shutting the door on millions of dollars of federal revenue that should go to the American people. If the president is serious about making government work for the people, he should reject this repeal and ensure the public gets a fair return on their natural resources.”

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About National Parks Conservation Association

Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than one million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s natural, historic, and cultural heritage for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.