Amidst the debate over whether Congress will abandon the BLM natural gas waste rule, energy industry lobby groups are making the rounds again with the same alternative facts that arrive at the same convenient conclusion: Big oil companies couldn’t possibly be wasting THAT much natural gas on public lands.
Let’s start with what we all (for once) can agree on: Big oil companies are wasting natural gas on public lands.
Let’s also note that the non-partisan Government Accountability Office has concluded that the natural gas wasted on public lands is severely underreported.
At issue in the current debate is a finding by the business consulting firm ICF International that $330 million a year in natural gas is wasted by companies that extract oil and gas on federal public lands – a figure based on the total amount of waste, whether its from venting, flaring, or leaking.
Why do energy industry lobbyists happen to arrive at a much smaller figure? Because their calculations apparently exclude the substantial amount of natural gas waste that comes from flaring.
Taken together, this means that oil and gas producers operating on public and tribal lands have wasted more than $1.5 billion in our resources since 2013.
One figure that these lobbyists will likely not mention in their written communications to Congress is $16,127,830. That’s the total amount of money the oil and gas industry gave to Congressional campaigns during the 2016 election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive politics. Remember that number the next time they try to counter objective analysis with alternative facts.