Press Release Dec 8, 2017

Delayed Air Quality Protections Favors Pollution Over Parks and Public Lands

The Bureau of Land Management is delaying implementation of commonsense methane rules, putting the health of national parks and park visitors at risk.

WASHINGTON – Today, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced a one-year delay for implementation of methane rules finalized by the agency in 2016. The rules help prevent oil and gas companies from leaking more than $330 million worth of methane into the atmosphere each year. The announcement confirms the agency’s desire to start a formal process for revising or rescinding the rules. The BLM spent years crafting fair rules to limit the waste of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas and contributor to the formation of unhealthy smog.

Statement by Nick Lund, Senior Manager of Landscape Conservation for National Parks Conservation Association

“Once again, Secretary Zinke has decided that the profits of oil and gas companies take precedence over the health and well-being of our public lands. Secretary Zinke’s refusal to implement commonsense practices for reducing methane waste on public lands will cheat taxpayers, exacerbate climate change, and harm our national parks and park visitors.

“National parks, and communities across the west are feeling the effects of methane pollution. Rampant waste in northwest New Mexico’s San Juan Basin has led to a huge methane cloud over parks like Mesa Verde National Park and Aztec Ruins National Monument. Parks in high-drilling areas in Utah, such as Dinosaur National Monument, are also reporting ozone smog levels that exceed federal standards.”

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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 1.3 million supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.