Press Release Oct 4, 2017

Delaying Methane Waste Rule Threatens National Parks

Continued pollution degrades air quality, wastes taxpayer dollars.

WASHINGTON – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is announcing today it will delay methane standards that would improve air quality, benefit taxpayers and reduce climate change affecting national parks. BLM’s action comes the same day as a federal court ruled that its earlier decision to freeze the standards was illegal. That means BLM must now enforce the methane rule even as it seeks to delay it. The following is a statement by Mark Wenzler, senior vice president at National Parks Conservation Association:

“The Trump administration’s refusal to implement commonsense practices for reducing methane waste on public lands will only cheat taxpayers and harm our national parks and public lands. Methane emissions do irrevocable damage to national parks and other public lands. Without this rule, oil and gas companies will continue wasting $330 million dollars’ worth of taxpayer-owned natural gas each year. These simple, proven rules can be a win-win for the taxpayer and our public lands, but today the Trump Administration decided the real winner should be oil and gas polluters.“

Background

Methane is the primary component of natural gas and can trap 84 times as much heat as carbon dioxide over a 20-year period. When methane is released into the atmosphere, it speeds climate change and contributes to unhealthy smog increasingly fouling the air in many western national parks.

Rampant methane waste in northwest New Mexico’s San Juan Basin has led to a 2,500-square-mile methane cloud over the Four Corners region and national parks including Mesa Verde and Aztec Ruins. Methane emissions also contribute to climate changes that are threatening the glaciers at Glacier National Park, the seashores at Biscayne National Park and Cape Hatteras National Seashore, and many other parks around the country.

Oil and gas facilities release billions of cubic feet of methane into the atmosphere every year, wasting energy and money. Oil and gas companies operating on federal and tribal lands alone are wasting an estimated $330 million nationwide each year through leaks, venting and flaring.

After extensive public processes, two federal agencies — the Environmental Protection Agency and BLM — finalized standards in 2016 to help keep methane out of the air. The now-delayed final standards would not only compel oil and gas companies to contain more of the methane they produce, they also allow the public to collect royalties on the gas instead of releasing it into the atmosphere.

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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 1.3 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]