U.S. Senate votes to protect public lands, not special interests

May 10, 2017
Andrew Burton, Getty
Today, the U.S. Senate voted against using the Congressional Review Act to repeal the Interior Department’s Methane and Waste Prevention Rule. In response, The Wilderness Society issued the following statement from President Jamie Williams:

“In recent months, thousands of Americans asked the Senate to stand up for clean air and against the oil lobby, and their efforts were successful today.

“This morning, the Senate voted against repealing the BLM’s Methane Waste Rule, thereby showing they understand that reducing waste from our public lands and cleaning up our air is the right thing to do. We applaud the majority of senators who listened to their constituents and voted in their best interests.

“But this is not the only important energy reform that must be protected from special interest influence. The Wilderness Society will continue to fight to ensure that when energy development occurs on public lands it is done responsibly and safely, in the right places, and with plenty of public involvement. We must pursue a balanced approach on our public lands while providing cleaner energy moving forward.”

The rule, which was finalized in November and went into effect in January, was created by the Department’s Bureau of Land Management 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 on public lands.

This rule was the result of multiple years of work, 300,000 public comments, and eight public forums. 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.