BLM Finalizes Methane Rule Delay

Thursday, December 7th
Contact: Camilla Feibelman, camilla.feibelman@sierraclub.org, 505.715.8388

Today, Secretary Zinke finalized his delay of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Methane and Waste Prevention rule until January 2019. The rule was designed to limit the waste of $330 million-dollars worth of methane from oil and gas operations on public and tribal lands each year through leaks, flaring and intentional releases.

“Why would Secretary Zinke and President Trump roll back good-neighbor rules that stop oil and gas waste and pollution on our public lands? In New Mexico we suffer from $27 million a year in lost revenues and royalties for the state because of industry carelessness. The methane rules that the administration is delaying today would require companies extracting on our public lands to check their leaks and fix them and capture natural gas they are currenting leaking, venting or flaring. These low cost fixes are health-improving, job-creating, royalty-producing and are good for our communities.”
Camilla Feibelman, Director of the Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club

Background from Politico:
BLM finalizes delay of methane waste rule

By Alex Guillén

12/07/2017 09:34 AM EDT

The Bureau of Land Management will finalize a long-term delay of its methane waste rule in a notice to be published in Friday’sFederal Register.

The rule’s key provisions, including leak detection and repair requirements, will not be enforced until Jan. 17, 2019, according to the notice. That will give BLM enough time to repeal the rule.

“The BLM has concerns regarding the statutory authority, cost, complexity, feasibility, and other implications of the 2016 final rule, and therefore intends to avoid imposing likely considerable and immediate compliance costs on operators for requirements that may be rescinded or significantly revised in the near future,” the agency wrote in the notice.

The Interior Department issued a hasty delay last year, but it was struck down by a federal judge who said the agency failed to follow administrative procedure, in particular collecting public comment on a delay. BLM subsequently went through notice-and-comment rulemaking to produce this new delay.

BLM said on Monday that it will appeal that judge’s ruling, despite the newly finalized delay. If that appeal succeeds, it would make it easier for Interior to stop rules in the future.

WHAT’S NEXT: It is unclear how long it will take BLM to complete its review and potential repeal of the methane waste rule, also known as the venting and flaring rule.

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Image from Public News Service

BLM Finalizes Methane Rule Delay
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