Letter: Tell senators to stop methane waste – Billings Gazette, Feb. 17, 2017

Congress is moving closer to repealing the Bureau of Land Management’s Methane Waste Rule; the final vote will take place in the Senate sometime in the coming weeks. Here’s why repealing the Methane Waste Rule (via the Congressional Review Act) is irresponsible governing, and just plain wasteful.

Currently, oil and gas companies throw away about $330 million of natural gas produced on public lands, by flaring, venting or leaking it out. But minerals produced on public lands aren’t theirs to throw away. They belong to Montanans — to you and me. If this gas was captured instead of being wasted, it would have real value. Not only would companies be able to sell it for use in heating our homes and businesses, it would also generate valuable tax revenues for our communities and counties. Those revenues are something we need badly, given the drop off in demand for coal.

The BLM put the rule into place after years of listening to Westerners and conducting public hearings throughout our region. Now, Congress intends to use the Congressional Review Act to repeal the rule, which includes the provision that the government would be prevented from ever introducing any rules that are “substantially similar” to this one in the future. In other words — this vote has permanent consequences. A repeal by CRA is not the way to go.

Please let Congress know that Montanans stand for common-sense government.

Virjeana Brown
Northern Plains Resource Council