District court reverses Interior's suspension of BLM Methane Rule

Feb 23, 2018

Methane flaring. 

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Late last night a U.S. District Court in California reversed the Interior Department’s suspension of the Bureau of Land Management’s Methane Waste Prevention Rule, noting that the agency failed to justify its decision to postpone core provisions of the rule.

In response, The Wilderness Society issued the following statement from Energy and Climate Program Director Chase Huntley:

“Secretary Zinke can try to turn as many tables in his favor by stacking committees with special interests and ignoring public input, but he is not above the law. The continued attempts to repeal the rule are baseless, and we should instead be focused on implementing the rule we’ve got as this decision makes clear.”

This is the fourth time the administration has failed in attempts to stop implementation of the commonsense rule. The three other times being:

  1. January 16: Wyoming District Court denies industry trade groups and several states request for preliminary injunction, to prevent the rule from going into effect.
  2. May 10: The effort to kill the methane rule via Congressional Review Act fails with bipartisan support, 51 to 49.
  3. October 4: California court overturns the Interior Department’s decision to unilaterally suspend many of the most important protections of the methane waste rule without providing any opportunity for public comment.

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.

Alex Thompson