This announcement shows strong leadership by the BLM. It’s time to ensure that westerners get the fair share they deserve from public lands, and this draft rule is a critically important step towards doing just that.
Americans are losing out on hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties each year from the current wasteful practice of venting and flaring—by which oil and gas companies release or burn excess natural gas off into the atmosphere, instead of capturing and/or selling it.
In fact, enough gas was vented or flared in 2013 alone to meet the needs of every household in a city the size of Chicago—that’s over 2.5 million people. And without this BLM rule to limit venting and flaring, Americans stand to lose out on over $800 million in the next decade—something we just can’t afford.
This draft BLM waste rule also has popular support. A poll from last year found that nearly 70% percent of western voters—a bipartisan majority—in New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and North Dakota support limits to venting and flaring by industry.
A strong BLM rule will ensure that industry has an incentive to capture and sell natural gas, a valuable resource, ensuring that taxpayers get the royalties that they deserve in return. Cutting natural gas waste is good for communities, good for industry, and good for taxpayers. This means that taking this step is a commonsense move, and it’s great to see that the BLM is leading the way.
In the coming months, the BLM will host a number of public listening sessions while the rule is open for comment, hoping to strengthen and otherwise tailor the rule to the needs of westerners. We encourage to add your voice in the coming weeks.