Statement on final Bureau of Land Management rule to curb methane waste

Mar 27, 2024

DENVER—The Bureau of Land Management today finalized its Methane Waste Rule, bringing to a close years of legal and administrative wrangling. The final rule requires oil and gas companies to reduce venting and flaring of methane, fix leaks, and reimburse taxpayers when companies waste this powerful greenhouse gas rather than capturing it and sending it to American homes.

The Center for Western Priorities released the following statement from Executive Director Jennifer Rokala:

“It’s common sense that when oil and gas companies waste taxpayer-owned resources like methane on public lands, they should make taxpayers whole for the loss. The BLM methane waste rule will complement the EPA’s final methane rule, which took aim at methane emissions across the oil and gas industry.

“President Biden promised an all-of-government approach to the climate crisis, and this rule is an important part of it. Over the next month, the Bureau of Land Management will have its hands full finalizing a number of rules to bring long-overdue balance to America’s public lands, speed the renewable energy transition, and address the biodiversity crisis. We’re hopeful that by the end of April, land managers across the West will have a new set of tools to make BLM’s multiple use mandate a success in the coming decades.”

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out by the courts in July 2020, the original Obama rule was also vacated by a judge later that same year, leaving outdated regulations from 1979 in place. BLM estimates that the new rule will increase revenue by $51 million a year, while providing another $18 million in added benefits from a reduction in methane emissions.

 

Learn more

  • Progress report: President Biden’s third year on public lands [Westwise]
  • Federal agencies scramble to finish Biden’s rules — and protect his legacy from Trump [E&E News]
  • Biden still has a long to-do list on climate action [Washington Post]