Press release: Rancher, group celebrate Senate’s failure to overturn methane waste rule – May 10, 2017

May 10, 2017

Categories: Agriculture, Congress, News, Northern Plains Resource Council, Oil and gas

By Northern Plains Resource Council

Pat Wilson

A Montana conservation and family farm group were celebrating the failure today of the U.S. Senate to overturn the Bureau of Land Management Methane and Waste Prevention rule. The BLM protections reduces the wasteful venting, flaring and leaking of methane during oil and gas drilling operations, saving taxpayers money, creating energy, and protecting the air of oil field communities.

“Wasting gas is an extremely short-sighted practice that not only takes potential tax revenue from communities that could sorely use it, especially to address our infrastructure needs, it also poses serious threats to our health,” said Pat Wilson, a spokesperson for Northern Plains Resource Council and a rancher in Bainville who’s experienced directly the effects of unrestrained gas flaring. “Keeping the BLM rule is good news for people living in oil country.

“The BLM protections struck close to home for me and my wife. Our family cattle ranch sits east of Bainville, Montana, placing it in the Montana portion of the Bakken oil field and amid extensive oil and gas development. We live with the impacts of that. I have driven by countless oil well flares spouting huge flames into thin air, because, unlike our neighbors in North Dakota, the State of Montana has very few controls on methane waste. Although some of these wells are connected to gas collection lines, some are not, and ALL are flared at least part of the time. Moreover, all wells, especially Bakken wells “outgas” both methane and VOCs from their storage tanks.

“Since the Bakken boom began we’ve had increasing amounts of respiratory trouble in our cow herd. Bakken oil workers have been found dead on location, slumped over tanks they have been monitoring. My stepson, whose job involves checking oil wells, often has to wear breathing apparatus on location. My wife has to use her inhaler two or three times a day. But when we’re in New Mexico she might use an inhaler two or three times a season.”

A motion to move forward with debate in the Senate on legislation that would have undone the BLM rule failed on a 49 to 51 vote this morning.

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