Today the Western Governors Association released a bipartisan resolution recognizing that methane is an environmentally hazardous and powerful greenhouse gas, and that states across the West have an economic incentive to reduce emissions from oil and gas production.
In response, The Wilderness Society issued the following statement from Energy and Climate Program Director Chase Huntley:
“The Western Governors Association took a big step today in leading Western states in combating the problem of methane waste. The WGA has recognized the numerous economic and health benefits in capturing otherwise wasted gas, and is looking to promote state regulations to addresses this issue.
"While this is a positive step for states, the Trump Administration is lagging behind by gutting their own federal rules on methane waste, ignoring the opportunity to create jobs and boost western economies through methane capture, at the behest of extreme industry groups who have the administration’s ear.”
This resolution comes 5 months after the Trump Administration announced a new proposal eviscerating the 2016 Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Methane Waste Prevention Rule.
The BLM Methane Waste Prevention Rule was targeted as a high priority for elimination by industry groups soon after the 2016 presidential election. Several attempts have since been made by both the Trump administration and Congress to comply with related special interest lobbying efforts to gut the rule or get rid of it entirely. (See below timeline.)
The regulation, which was finalized in November 2016 and went into effect in January 2017, was created to cut the waste of natural gas owned by the American people through both accidental leaks and intentional venting and flaring--more than $330 million in natural gas is wasted each year. It was created to address the concerns of independent government oversight agencies that BLM was not meeting its legislative mandate to prevent the waste of taxpayer-owned resources.
The result of multiple years of work, 330,000 public comments, and eight public forums, it would have ensured taxpayers received millions of dollars each year in missing royalties and reduced harmful smog and pollution from methane—a greenhouse gas 86 times more powerful than carbon dioxide.