Today the Bureau of Land Management pre-published a rule rescinding most provisions of its 2016 methane waste rule. The original rule required oil and gas companies operating on public lands to take reasonable measures to prevent the waste of publicly owned natural gas. Gutting the rule reintroduces a known public health hazard, fleeces taxpayers, and harms the climate in a misguided attempt to shield billion-dollar fossil fuel companies from the costs of corporate responsibility.
“For nearly a decade—if not more—the federal government has known about the oil and gas industry’s enormous methane waste problem and the agency’s own lax oversight,” said Erik Schlenker-Goodrich, executive director of the Western Environmental Law Center. “Yet the Trump administration is now scuttling an affordable and reasonable solution with approval from 75 percent of Westerners. The rollback of the methane waste rule reveals the Trump administration’s ‘energy dominance’ narrative for what it really is: a sham that capitulates to industry’s knee-jerk opposition to sensible public safeguards and literally wastes energy that could otherwise produce royalties for public schools and energy for consumers.”
WELC and its partners are considering their full suite of litigation options ahead of the rule’s publication in the Federal Register in approximately two days.