Rollback of Methane Rule Puts Industry Interests Above Climate, Public Health, Taxpayers

By February 3, 2017Oil & Gas

Today, the U.S.House of Representatives put the special interests of big oil and gas companies ahead of the public interest by voting to roll back the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) methane rule. The measure now heads to the Senate.

We in the Four Corners can’t afford to lose this rule. We live underneath the greatest concentration of methane in the country floats. Although we can’t see it, it’s not harmless. It’s a dangerous greenhouse gas, threatens public health, and signifies a huge loss of federal royalty money that should be going to fund schools, roads, and infrastructure.

Despite widespread, bipartisan support for the rule in Colorado – 81% of Coloradans are in favor – Representative Scott Tipton voted to nix the rule today. We hope Senators Gardner and Bennet do not make that same mistake in the coming weeks when the measure goes to the Senate for a final vote.

See full Press Release below.


For Immediate Release
February 3, 2017

Rollback of Methane Rule Puts Industry Interests Above Climate, Public Health, Taxpayers

DURANGO – The U.S. House of Representatives today put the special interests of big oil and gas companies ahead of the public interest by voting to roll back the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) methane rule. The measure now heads to the Senate.

The rule requires private oil and gas companies to implement common sense practices that limit the waste of taxpayer-owned natural gas on public and tribal lands. When private companies extract resources from public or tribal land, they are required to pay royalties on what they take. Unfortunately, royalties don’t apply to wasted natural gas. The 110 billion cubic feet of gas currently wasted in the U.S. is worth an estimated $330 million dollars annually.

This waste also generates dangerous air pollution. The Four Corners Methane Hotspot, the greatest concentration of methane in the country, hovers above Southwest Colorado and Northwest New Mexico. The primary source of the hotspot is waste from natural gas infrastructure. Methane is a greenhouse gas 86 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Natural gas is made up mostly of methane but also contains other gases harmful to human health.

The Senate is expected to vote on the rollback measure soon. Their approach uses a rare tool called the “Congressional Review Act” (CRA), which, if successful, not only kills the rule but will prohibit the agency from introducing a similar rule ever again.

This BLM methane rule was written based on successful examples in several energy-producing states, including Colorado. These state’s show that fixes are straightforward, possible, and cost-effective.

Statement by San Juan Citizens Alliance Executive Director, Dan Olson:

“Southwest Colorado sits under the highest concentration of methane pollution in the United States. We now know this ‘hotspot’s’ primary source is oil and gas infrastructure. The BLM methane rule will ensure reduction of this pollution in a cost effective manner, already proven to work when similar rules were enacted by the State of Colorado. Today, Representative Tipton stood against the 81% of Coloradans who support these rules. We hope Senators Gardner and Bennet don’t follow in his footsteps.”

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