Over the last several weeks, we’ve been asking Westerners to say that it’s time that oil and gas companies stop wasting our natural resources and give taxpayers their fair share of revenue from public lands.
And the response has been overwhelming. Nearly 200,000 people signed petitions or made personal comments to support a commonsense rule from BLM that would limit natural gas waste on public lands. This includes nearly 27,000 supporters of the Western Values Project in western states.
This issue is particularly important to the American West. When NASA released satellite images examining methane emissions, it showed a 2,500-mile methane hotspot over the San Juan Basin in the Four Corners region. No wonder more than 13,000 people in New Mexico and 15,000 people in Colorado also backed the natural gas waste rule as well as more than 60 local officials in those states.
Western states are losing out on hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties from the current wasteful practice of venting and flaring —where oil and gas companies release or burn excess natural gas off into the atmosphere, as well as leaky equipment. Companies should instead be capturing and selling that energy on the market.
It’s money that we could use to repair roads, improve our schools and update aging infrastructure, but instead it’s literally going up in smoke.
The broad outpouring support to limit this waste sends a clear message from the West: Wasting natural gas is bad for the environment and it’s bad for taxpayers.
The proposed rule will give industry an incentive to capture and sell this natural gas, ensuring that taxpayers get the royalties they deserve in return.
Ending natural gas waste on public lands is good for communities, good for industry, and good for taxpayers.