Wilderness Society staffer to BLM: 'End natural gas waste on public lands'

The Wilderness Society

The Wilderness Society’s Pam Eaton submitted her own testimony this week at one of BLM's public meetings about a proposal that could help put a stop to pollution on public lands.

Did you know that leaking methane gas has resulted in a cloud the size of Delaware hovering over the southwest part of our country? Methane pollution is a serious contributor to climate change, yet the oil and gas industry has been allowed to leak unchecked methane into our atmosphere through its oil and gas drilling on public lands. 

Fortunately, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is considering a proposal to limit venting, flaring and leaking of methane from oil and gas operations on public lands.

This is a much needed step, but the oil and gas industry will seek to weaken the proposed rule, and they are already organizing to flood public meetings the BLM is holding across the West to seek public input.  

We cannot let them get away with that. They have operated without guidelines for long enough.

The Wilderness Society’s Senior Director for Reducing Carbon Emissions, Pam Eaton, submitted her own testimony this week at one of those public meetings in Colorado. See what Pam had to say below, and be sure to add your voice to help reduce methane pollution from our public lands:

Pam Eaton's Testimony to the BLM

Good afternoon, my name is Pam Eaton and I am the Senior Director for Reducing Carbon Emissions at The Wilderness Society. I live in Colorado. I first want to thank all the Department of Interior (DOI) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) staff who have worked so hard to improve the way oil and gas is developed on our shared public lands—and on this proposal in particular. On behalf of our over 700,000 members and supporters across the country, including thousands in Colorado, I’m here to offer strong support for the BLM Venting and Flaring rule.

This proposed rule makes sense-- economic sense, health sense, and climate sense. Frankly, common sense.

I have a 17-year-old son, born and raised in Colorado.  In his lifetime, the number of oil and gas wells on public land has increased by 50%, to a total of more than 100,000.  And with the growing number of wells has come more waste of natural gas.  Safeguards and accepted practices across the industry have not kept up with oil and gas development. It’s time to modernize how we develop energy on our shared public lands.

The State of Colorado, and many other states in the West, count on the benefits of public lands: for the scenery, recreation, wildlife, clean water, and yes, energy development.

When development occurs, we, the American taxpayers and our states where the development takes place should get our fair share. Our state lost at least $36 million in revenue since 2009 due to wasted gas from oil and gas on public lands. That is money that we need for schools, roads, hospitals, and communities.

Through leadership here in Colorado, it’s been proven that reducing waste works for the industry, the economy, the environment, and the peopleThis proposal will complement what Colorado has done to reduce natural gas waste and provide benefits that include increased revenue, reduced air pollution, and reduced risk of climate change. 

The BLM’s proposed rule is very good and yet could use improvements in certain areas. For example: Removing exemptions for leak detection and repair; increasing LDAR frequency, assuring proper enforcement and increasing transparency.

But overall this proposal is a strong one. As the mother of children growing up in a rapidly changing Colorado, I’m concerned about the state of our state—our economy, our air, water, wildlands and way of life. So I appreciate that BLM and DOI have taken concerns about the waste of our resources seriously and are taking action. I am also concerned about the state of our public lands. Our public lands and the resources they provide belong to all of us, and they should be managed for our benefit—now and for future generations.  On behalf of The Wilderness Society and our members, we urge strong support and strengthening of this proposal and hope you finalize this rule quickly so that we can stop the waste as soon as possible. Thank you.

We need your help to ensure that the oil and gas industry will not be allowed to continue to harm our climate and waste finite resources that could power our homes.

TAKE ACTION: Click here to join Pam and send a message to the BLM and Secretary Sally Jewell to support efforts to reduce pollution and protect our air, climate and the wildlands we all cherish.