Montana Oil & Gas Drilling Lease Climate Challenge

In Montana, leaky oil & gas drilling operations on public lands emit 1.8 billion cubic feet of methane (and perhaps far more) to the atmosphere each year. Over a 20-year lifetime of development, keeping this methane out of the atmosphere would be the equivalent of an additional $180 million in natural gas sales – or the same as eliminating the carbon dioxide emissions from the electricity use of approximately 95,000 homes over the same time.

Working with our allies at the Montana Environmental Information Center, Earthworks’ Oil & Gas Accountability Project, and WildEarth Guardians, we’re challenging nearly 80,000 acres of oil and gas leasing, pending an evaluation of climate change. We believe the National Environmental Policy Act requires BLM to address the serious problem of vented, flared, and leaked methane emissions from oil and gas operations on these leases. Our suit recommends to BLM that readily available greenhouse gas reduction technologies should be a required condition of owning an oil & gas lease.

This ties in with our other work on federal rules to reduce methane waste on public lands, and will complement that work by setting a national precedent.