Momentum for limits to natural gas waste has been building. Westerners ranging from sportsmen, to oil and gas global industry heads, to retired land managers and tribal tribal leaders, have all been speaking up in support of a rule from the Bureau of Land Management that would stop natural gas waste. They’ve made it clear: it’s time to curb the wasteful practice of venting and flaring, and ensure that taxpayers get their fair share.
Oil and Gas Industry Leaders
The heads of some of the biggest global oil and gas companies are also paving the way for a BLM rule. Last Friday, the leaders of ten different oil and gas companies agreed collectively to voluntarily limit the flaring of natural gas from their operations.
First off, two ex-BLM Directors sent a letter to the White House yesterday detailing the need for a “rigorous” rule to eliminate methane waste from oil and gas operations on federal public lands. The two former BLM directors, Bob Abbey and Mike Dombeck, underscored that in addition to curbing waste, a rule would generate much-needed revenue for local and tribal governments out West. Wrote Abbey and Dombeck:
“We believe a rigorous rule is critical for reducing methane waste (the primary component of natural gas) from oil and gas operations on America’s public lands and of the federal mineral estate more broadly. As stewards for the American taxpayer, the BLM has the authority and duty to ensure a fair return for publicly-owned oil and gas minerals under the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920.”
Sportsmen and Sportswomen
Todd Leahy, a member of the New Mexico Wildlife Federation, recently penned an op-ed that underscored the need for a BLM rule to support New Mexico’s thriving outdoor economy. Wrote Leahy:
“Sportsmen rely on wildlife corridors to keep game populations healthy, and New Mexico’s economy relies on sportsmen. A 2014 New Mexico Department of Game and Fish study found that the state has 87,600 hunters who spend $345.5 million a year on outdoor activities… This rule would address some of the lowest hanging fruit, reducing on-the-ground landscape impacts for New Mexico’s sportsmen.”
A few tribes in oil-rich North Dakota have also recently added their voice in the call for a BLM rule to reduce flaring, given that the practice results in an enormous waste of money. Mark Fox, the chairman of the Three Affiliated Tribes, said the following in an article published in North Dakota’s Minot Daily News:
“The biggest problem with flaring is it’s a waste of money. Nobody gets paid. The oil companies don’t get paid, the tribes don’t get paid and the individuals that own mineral rights here on Fort Berthold do not get paid so flaring is not a good thing.”
When you’ve got that many different voices calling for something—seems like it might be time to take action. The Bureau of Land Management has a lot of support for a rule to limit natural gas waste—now, all that needs to happen is for the rule to be released.