Action Alert! BLM Methane Rule

February 16, 2016–The public comment period is underway on The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) draft rule to update its regulations to reduce the waste of natural gas from flaring, venting, and leaks from oil and gas production operations on public and Indian lands.

 

This rule is a step in the right direction, but it currently includes flaring exemptions, leak detection and repair loopholes, and lacks proper enforcement mechanisms. The oil and gas industry is fighting the rule insisting that it is unnecessary and over-reaching. Your help is needed to make sure the rule is passed and strengthened.

  • Attend the public meeting on March 1.

BLM is holding a public meeting on the proposed rule in Lakewood on March 1.

Time: 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Location: Holiday Inn Denver Lakewood, 7390 West Hampden, Lakewood, CO  80227

CHC will be attending and delivering comments at this meeting. Please contact Natasha Léger at natasha@citizensforahealthycommunity.org or at 970-399-9700 if you are interested in attending the public meeting.

 

  • Submit written comments.

Written comments are due on April 8th . The official name of the BLM Methane Rule is Waste Prevention, Production Subject to Royalties, and Resource Conservation

Via mail: Send your comments to:

U.S. Department of the Interior, Director (630), Bureau of Land Management, Mail Stop 2134 LM, 1849 C St. NW., Washington, DC 20240, Attention: 1004–AE14.

 

Electronically: you can submit comments through the Federal eRulemaking Portal

You can upload supporting documents when you upload to the Federal eRulemaking Portal. The best part of this portal is that you get confirmation of your submission.

 

Curbing waste from oil and gas production operations is critically important because:

  • Capturing wasted methane will curb emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and carcinogens like benzene, protecting public health.
  • According to BLM Director Neil Kornze capturing wasted natural gas from venting, flaring and leaks will save as much energy as could be used to power every household in Dallas and Denver combined, every year.
  • According to The Environmental Defense Fund 1 million metric tons of useful natural gas resources were vented or flared on public and tribal lands, and 40 percent of that gas could be economically captured with currently available technologies.

 

The proposed rule is available here, and the BLM Fact Sheet is available here.

 

Why this is important to CHC

While CHC continues to fight new leasing, the second best way to protect our community from the impact of existing oil and gas development, or any new development on existing leases, in our airshed and watershed is through strong mitigation standards. This includes strong enforceable regulations that prohibit or restrict methane leaks and emissions.

The Western Environmental Law Center and Western Organization of Resource Councils published Falling Short: State Oil and Gas Rules Fail to Control Methane Waste. Colorado fails on 70% of the criteria needed to ensure that methane waste is properly captured.

The San Juan Citizens Alliance has done an outstanding job of distilling the BLM Methane Rule on their website. They have also described the Methane Hotspot in the Four Corners.

 

As we review and digest the 300 page rule, we will send out more information and fact sheets as we prepare for the public meeting on March 1.

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