Statement on new Bureau of Land Management methane waste rule

Nov 28, 2022

November 28, 2022

DENVER—The Bureau of Land Management today released a draft of its updated Methane Waste Prevention Rule, which aims to reduce leaks, venting, and flaring of methane from oil and gas operations on national public lands. Currently, the amount of methane wasted from federal oil and gas production could heat 1.3 million homes every year.

The Center for Western Priorities released the following statement from Deputy Director Aaron Weiss:

“It’s encouraging to see the Biden administration take steps to end the legal hot potato over methane venting and flaring. There’s no reason for oil and gas companies to waste a publicly-owned resource, much less a powerful greenhouse gas like methane. This rule will provide the industry with the regulatory certainty it seeks while protecting taxpayers and the environment.”

Efforts to curb methane waste on public lands have been in legal limbo since the Obama administration issued a rule in 2016. That rule survived a challenge under the Congressional Review Act, only to see the Trump administration largely undermine it with a new rulemaking in 2018. While that new rule was thrown out by the courts in July 2020, the original Obama rule was also vacated by a judge later that same year, leaving outdated regulations from 1979 in place.