Northern Plains responds to Bureau of Land Management suspension of methane rule, December 7, 2017

Today, the federal Bureau of Land Management finalized the delay of much of its Methane and Waste Prevention rule until January 2019. In response, Northern Plains Resource Council issued the following statement:

Sue Beug, Northern Plains member

“Secretary Zinke’s decision to suspend these protections that safeguard the clean air, health, and economic vitality of oilfield communities is a deep betrayal of Western states. Westerners have made their overwhelming support of the BLM’s Methane and Waste Prevention rule known time and again as the Trump Administration has tried, and failed, to use every tactic in their toolbox to strip us of these protections over the past year,” said Sue Beug of Northern Plains Resource Council, a Montana grassroots conservation and family agriculture group. “It’s unconscionable to allow an industry to risk the wellbeing of our communities by not controlling the release of methane and associated gases for only a slight increase in profits.”

The rule, finalized in November of 2016, requires oil and gas producers to use currently available technologies and processes to reduce flaring, venting, and leaking of federal and tribal minerals. The Interior Department previously found the rule would reduce pollution from volatile organic compounds (VOCs) – a product that threatens public health – by 250,000 to 267,000 tons per year. Industry costs would be low – even small operators, on average, would see their profit margins reduced by less than two-tenths of one percent.

Suspending enforcement of much of this rule comes after many failed attempts by the Trump Administration to prevent the implementation of these protections. An Administration-backed proposal to repeal the rule failed to pass in Congress last May. In October, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down an earlier BLM decision to not enforce the rule.

The 2017 Colorado College State of the Rockies poll found that 81% of Westerners, including 84% of Montanans, support keeping the rule in place.


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