Methane and Natural Gas Waste Rule

The methane and natural gas waste rule will reduce leaked, vented and flared natural gas and methane waste from oil and gas operations on public and tribal lands.

H.J. Res. 36 is sponsored by U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah).
S.J. Res. 11 is sponsored by U.S. Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.).

OVERVIEW

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s methane and natural gas rule is a commonsense policy that requires the oil and gas industry to reduce venting, flaring and leaks at industry operations on public and tribal lands by deploying methane mitigation technology. Currently, more than $330 million worth of natural gas is wasted on public and tribal lands each year, meaning that taxpayers could lose out on $800 million in royalties over the next decade due to venting and flaring of this gas.

Repealing this rule would harm public health and reduce revenue to the federal government and Western states. The BLM estimates the rule’s net benefits range from $115 to $204 million per year. And economic studies have found the technologies and practices included in this rule to be very cost effective since the gas captured can be sold to the benefit of industry and taxpayers. Leaked natural gas contains volatile organic compounds, an asthma irritant, benzene, and other hazardous air pollutants that are known carcinogens. After Colorado implemented a similar rule, natural gas production increased, and the standard has been popular.

TAKE ACTION

Tell Congress to stop trying to dismantle oil and gas reforms!
This action is hosted by the Wilderness Society.

It’s time to put our health before polluter profits.
This action is hosted by Physicians for Social Responsibility.

Toolkit: Defend Pollution Protections with the BLM Methane Rule
The Wilderness Society: March 13, 2017

IMPACTS

Because the oil and gas industry does not pay royalties on wasted gas, the American people are not receiving their fair share of revenues from natural gas development.

If this rule is overturned through a CRA, the American people will lose out on at least $800 million in royalties over the next decade. (That is an estimate for the gas that’s wasted through venting and flaring, and doesn’t even include unaddressed leaks.)

Because states where development occurs get half of all royalties, western states have an opportunity to get substantially more money for their budgets. That means millions of dollars for schools, roads, bridges and emergency services in New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, North Dakota and Montana.

The plentiful oil and gas resources in Four Corners region has created an invisible methane plume. Credit: Ecoflight

Furthermore, methane, which makes up 92 percent of natural gas, is a significantly potent greenhouse gas. In fact, it is 84 times more powerful than carbon dioxide.

Natural gas also contains chemicals that can harm human health, such as hydrogen sulfide, toluene, xylene, benzene and formaldehyde. These toxic air pollutants increase the chance of cancer, respiratory, neurological, reproductive, developmental and other serious health problems.

NASA has found a methane cloud the size of Delaware over the Four Corners Region that can be traced back to the oil and gas production on federal lands in the San Juan Basin of New Mexico.

By reducing natural gas waste, and the associated methane pollution, there will be significant fiscal, environmental and health benefits for the American people.

Physicians for Social Responsibility discusses the dangers of methane pollution.

Q and A on Methane

Posted by Physicians for Social Responsibility on Wednesday, March 29, 2017

OPPONENTS

This rule has been significantly targeted by the American Petroleum Institute and the Koch Brothers, who want to allow the oil and gas industry to have unfettered and unregulated access to our federal lands.

They have found real champions in the U.S. Senate, led by U.S. Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and James Inhofe (R-Okla.). While the industry is driving the agenda, it is clear that their allies in Congress are more than happy to check this item off their wish list and put the industry ahead of American taxpayers and their health.

TABLE: Political Spending by Opponents of the Methane and Natural Gas Waste Rule

Industry/Group Lobbying (2015) Political Spending (2016) % Political Spending to Republicans
Oil and gas industry  $130,031,004 $97,997,278 89%

 

CONTACTS

Joshua Mantell, The Wilderness Society, josh_mantell@tws.org, (202) 429-2674

Jon Goldstein, Environmental Defense Fund, jgoldstein@edf.org, (303) 447-7204

NEWS AND RESOURCES

Udall Hopes to Change Law After Methane Rule Vote
The Farmington Daily Times: May 21, 2017

A Surprise Victory for Environmentalists on Methane
The Washington Post: May 19, 2017

Gardner Needs to Take a Stand on Methane Emissions
The Denver Post: May 18, 2017

Heller Sells Out Nevada Families
The Las Vegas Sun: May 18, 2017

Finally, a Victory for the Environment in the Senate
Care2.com: May 12, 2017

Environmentalists Triumph as Senate Upholds Drilling Rule
The Post Independent: May 11, 2017

Sen. John McCain Sides With Democrats to Preserve Obama-Era Environmental Rule
The Arizona Republic: May 11, 2017

VICTORY: Big Oil Comes Up Short in Dismantling Pollution Protections
The Wilderness Society: May 10, 2017

Methane Rule Endures, Common Sense Prevails
Environmental Defense Fund: May 10, 2017

Important Victory on the Methane Rule
Physicians for Social Responsibility: May 10, 2017

Natural Gas Waste Rule Upheld
Friends Committee on National Legislation: May 10, 2017

In Win for Environmentalists, Senate Keeps an Obama-Era Climate Change Rule
The New York Times: May 10, 2017

Bid to Revoke Obama Methane Rule Fails in Surprise U.S. Senate Vote
The New York Times: May 10, 2017

GOP Fails to Repeal Obama Methane Rule After John McCain, 2 Other Republicans Defect
Think Progress: May 10, 2017

GOP Fails to Kill Methane Rule in a Capitol Hill Defeat for Oil and Gas Industry
Inside Climate News: May 10, 2017

Maverick McCain Re-Emerges on Methane Vote
Roll Call: May 10, 2017

GOP Under Pressure as Senate Weighs Vote on Drilling Rule
The New York Times: May 9, 2017

Law Profs Warn of ‘Prolonged Litigation’ If Congress Kills Rule
E&E News: May 9, 2017

Will Congress Vote to Dismantle Pollution Protections in the Next 24 Hours?
The Wilderness Society: May 9, 2017

CRA Repreal of the Methane Waste Rule Could Lead to Prolonged Litigation
Letter from 39 Law Professors: May 8, 2017

Will Congress Kill the Methane Rule?
The Santa Fe New Mexican: May 8, 2017

Deadline Nears for Senate to Overturn BLM Methane Rule
The Daily Sentinel: May 8, 2017

Supporters of Methane Rule Make Final Plea
The Santa Fe New Mexican: May 8, 2017

Dem Senator: Possible Methane Vote Would Be ‘a Huge Step Backward’
The Hill: May 8, 2017

Methane Rule Protects Human, Livestock Health
The Billings Gazette / The Montana Standard: May 8, 2017

Tribal Groups Press U.S. Senate to Keep BLM Methane Waste Rule
Public News Service: May 8, 2017

Congressional Anti-Rule Push May Live on After Methane Vote
E&E: May 8, 2017

Obama’s Methane Rule Could Be Scrapped
The Columbus Dispatch: May 7, 2017

BLM Methane Rule Needs to Stay in Effect
The Pueblo Chieftain / The Albuquerque Journal: May 6, 2017

Methane Regulation Crucial for Nevada’s Environment, Economy
The Las Vegas Sun: May 6, 2017

Nelson and Rubio Should Agree on Waste
The Pensacola News-Journal: May 5, 2017

BLM Methane Repeal Would Hurt N.D. Taxpayers
Inforum: May 5, 2017

Inside the Debate Over Repealing Curbs on Methane Leaks
NPR: May 3, 2017

Oil and Gas Lobby Pretends Senators Can Have Their Cake and Eat It Too
The Morning Consult: May 3, 2017

Senate Should Leave Intact Rules Governing Methane
Youngstown News: May 3, 2017

Methane Rule Repeal Hits Snag in Senate Over Ethanol
Bloomberg: May 2, 2017

Keep Methane Emissions Standards, Environmentalists Urge
Vindy.com: May 1, 2017

Sen. Gardner, Support BLM Methane Rule
The Daily Sentinel: April 28, 2017

Vote Could Overturn BLM’s Methane Waste Rule
Wyoming Public Media: April 27, 2017

Methane Limits Critical to Fort Berthold; Tribes Seek Heitkamp’s Help
Inforum: April 27, 2017

ND Tribes Want Congress to Keep Methane Waste Prevention Rule
Public News Service: April 27, 2017

Time to End Waste of Gas Well Venting
The Albuquerque Journal: April 24, 2017

When It Comes to American Energy, Waste Not, Want Not
The Grand Junction Sentinel: April 23, 2017

Methane Gas Rule Is Good for Nebraska
The Grand Island Independent: April 22, 2017

Now at Risk: A New Rule to Curb Methane Emissions From Oil and Gas Drilling on Public Lands
The Akron Beacon Journal: April 21, 2017

Vote ‘No’ on Limiting Oil-Gas Regulations
The Bradenton Herald: April 21, 2017

You’ve Got to Be Kidding
Steamboat Today: April 21, 2017

Rally For BLM Methane Waste Reduction Rule
Western Slope Now: April 18, 2017

Why We Need Methane Rules
High Country News: April 18, 2017

Upholding the BLM Methane Rule Is a No-Brainer for Our Energy Security and a Stronger America
The Hill: April 18, 2017

Maine Senators Work to Protect Clean Air
Central Maine: April 7, 2017

New Standards Could Make People Sick
The Columbus Dispatch: March 31, 2017

What You Should Know About This Little-Noticed Trump Order on Methane Pollution
Environmental Defense Fund: March 31, 2017

Senators: Defend Our Troops by Defending the BLM Methane Waste Rule
The Washington Examiner: March 28, 2017

Methane Rule Repeal Would Hurt Taxpayers and Businesses
The Morning Consult: March 27, 2017

Methane Rule Needed in Montana
The Billings Gazette: March 26, 2017

BLM Methane Rule Crucial to Keeping West Slope’s Skies Blue
The Post Independent: March 25, 2017

For Methane, It’s Cleanup Time!
The Daily Camera: March 24, 2017

Latino Groups Urge Senate to Protect BLM Methane Rule, Latino Communities
League of Conservation Voters: March 23, 2017

Sen. Gardner Should Oppose Repealing the BLM’s Methane Rule
The Aspen Times: March 21, 2017

Repeal of Obama Drilling Rule Stalls in the Senate
The Hill: March 21, 2017

Military Veterans Oppose CRA on Methane Rule
2100 Military Veterans and 4 Generals: March 20, 2017

Why Would the Senate Want to Waste Natural Gas?
The Arizona Republic: March 20, 2017

Protect the Environment, Public Health. Don’t Abandon Methane Rules
The Canton Rep: March 20, 2017

Secretary McQueen Turns Back on Science
The Albuquerque Journal: March 19, 2017

Rollback of Environmental Regulations Will Harm Latino Public Health
The Hill: March 17, 2017

Senators’ Balking Over a Rollback of New Methane Rules Is a Heartening Development
The Los Angeles Times: March 16, 2017

Undoing BLM’s Methane Rule Is Lunacy
The Daily Camera: March 13, 2017

Republicans Want to Undo a Rule That Protects Taxpayers and the Environment
The Bangor Daily News: March 13, 2017

Keep Rule That Cuts Natural Gas Waste
The Knoxville News Sentinel: March 11, 2017

Support for Federal Methane Waste Rule Swells in N.M.
The Santa Fe New Mexican: March 6, 2017

Sen. Gardner: Vote to Keep Methane Rule
The Durango Herald: March 6, 2017

Conservatives Defend BLM Natural-Gas Waste Rule
Public News Service: March 6, 2017

Congress Should Make Oil and Gas Companies Pay for Wasted Resources
The Hill: March 3, 2017

Senate Must Note Against Roll Back of BLM Methane Waste Rule
The Hill: March 2, 2017

Why the Methane Rule Matters to Moab
The Moab Sun News: March 2, 2017

We Have a Methane Problem
Pacific Standard / The Week: March 1, 2017

Why I Support the Rule to Reduce Methane
The Springfield News Leader: March 1, 2017

Officials From Colorado, Other States Oppose Moves to Roll Back Federal Methane Rule
Denver Business Journal: February 28, 2017

Increasing Energy Security by Reducing Waste
Morning Consult: February 28, 2017

Senate Should Stand Up for Environment and Not Block Obama Methane Regulation
The Los Angeles Times: February 27, 2017

Senate Mulls ‘Kill Switch’ for Obama Methane Rule
Beloit Daily News: February 23, 2017

Conserving Energy Extracted From Public Lands Should Be a No-Brainer
The Missoula News: February 23, 2017

LTE: Irresponsible to Repeal Methane Waste Rule
The Missoulian: February 20, 2017

Demonstrators Demand Support Methane Rules
The Cortez Journal: February 14, 2017

Congressional Review Act: A Law of Unintended and Long-Lasting Consequences
Environmental Defense Fund: February 8, 2017

Republicans Want to Let Fossil Fuel Companies Waste Taxpayers’ Natural Gas
Truthout: February 8, 2017

BLM’s Rule on Methane Waste Should Be Retained
Albuquerque Journal: February 8, 2017

Trump Wants to Reduce Waste and Grow Jobs? Good, These Methane Policies Do Just That.
Environmental Defense Fund: February 6, 2017

Wasting Energy Is Not Conservative: Keep the BLM Wasted Gas Rule
The Hill: February 6, 2017

Congress Shouldn’t Repeal Federal Methane Rule
The Denver Post: February 4, 2017

Don’t Roll Back Methane Rules
Bangor Daily News: February 4, 2017

Congress’s Repeal of Obama Methane Rule Will Cost Taxpayers Hundreds of Millions
ThinkProgress: February 3, 2017

The Big Gas Giveaway: Flaring, the Congressional Review Act, and Trump’s Present to Big Oil
Friends of the Earth: February 3, 2017

What’s Congress Doing to our Methane Waste Regulations?
Union of Concerned Scientists: February 2, 2017

Methane Rule Fact Sheet
Center for American Progress: February 2, 2017

Congress Attacks Common-Sense Curbs on Oil & Gas Pollution
Natural Resources Defense Council: February 1, 2017

Using the CRA on BLM Rule Would Increase Government Waste
The Hill: February 1, 2017

Methane and Waste Prevention Rule Fact Sheet
Natural Resources Defense Council: January 31, 2017

Urgent: Congress Acts to Unravel Obama’s Oil and Gas Reforms: Your Voice Needed This Week
The Wilderness Society: January 30, 2017

Congress Shouldn’t Butcher Federal Methane Rule
The Denver Post: January 28, 2017

Tell Congress to Stop Trying to Dismantle Oil and Gas Reforms!
The Wilderness Society: January 26, 2017

Congress’ Newest Proposal: Let Oil and Gas Industry Intentionally Waste Taxpayer Money
The Wilderness Society: January 13, 2017

Message Guide on BLM Methane and Natural Gas Waste Rule
Environmental Defense Fund: January 11, 2017

Fact Sheet from the Environmental Defense Fund
Environmental Defense Fund: January 3, 2017

BLM Finalizes Rule to Curb Methane Pollution. We Must Fight for It Under the New Administration!
The Wilderness Society: November 15, 2016

Interactive Maps Show Nearness of Oil and Gas Wells to Communities in 5 States
The Wilderness Society: October 26, 2016

Top Five Reasons BLM’s New Wasted Gas Rule Matters
The Wilderness Society: September 20, 2016

Report: Proposed BLM Methane Waste Rule Will Increase Production, Revenue in New Mexico’s San Juan Basin
The Wilderness Society: April 28, 2016

Colorado Oil and Gas Operators Say New Regs Help Reduce Methane Pollution
The Wilderness Society: April 15, 2016