HECHO Statement on Interior Department Proposal to Reduce Methane Emissions, Wasted Gas on Public, Tribal Lands

We applaud the U.S. Department of the Interior’s announcement today of a proposed rule that will address the wasteful release of natural gas into the atmosphere from oil and gas operations on public and American Indian lands.   Wasting resources contradicts our values of conserving and respecting what the land provides for us and we must update our 30-year old regulations to align with these values.

“This commonsense rule is a step toward ensuring westerners breathe clean air and communities get their fair share of revenue for publicly owned resources instead of watching their dollars literally go up in flames,” said HECHO Advisory Board Member Kent Salazar. “Latinos across the West look forward to cleaner air and much needed support for infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and schools in rural, western communities.”

In addition to wasting money, leaking methane creates smog which harms lungs – increasing asthma attacks and aggravating lung diseases.  Already Latinos are three times more likely to die from asthma than any other racial or ethnic group. This needs to stop.

We also commend the BLM’s process in creating this proposal, which included soliciting substantial input from stakeholders, including a series of public forums to consult with tribal and state governments in Colorado, New Mexico, North Dakota, and Washington, D.C.

This is exactly the kind of proposal that we hoped would be released by the Interior Department, and that we trust will go a long way toward reducing methane emissions on public lands.  

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