A victory took place in the Senate yesterday with a vote of 51 – 49 not to take up a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution that would have overturned the Methane Waste Rule. This BLM rule – which took six years to develop with a variety of stakeholder input – prevents more than $330 million worth of natural gas from being wasted on public and tribal lands from venting, flaring, and leaking natural gas into the air. In addition, because it was a CRA resolution, it would have blocked the BLM from trying to provide any similar protections in the future.
“We applaud the Senate for recognizing that this common sense rule should stay in place to cut the waste of publicly owned resources and save millions of taxpayer dollars,” said Camilla Simon, Executive Director of HECHO. “We are grateful to the U.S. Senators who voted for taxpayers and who value our public lands.”
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) conducted a deliberate and inclusive process to develop the Waste Rule, with extensive input from every stakeholder, including: oil and gas companies; workers; trade associations; State regulators and other officials; Tribal leaders; local governments; members of Congress; taxpayer advocates; technology providers; environmental advocates; Tribal members; and private citizens. All in all, they received about 330,000 comments on the proposed rule, before issuing the final rule last November.
“The enormous amount of time and resources that went into developing this rule represents the strength and beauty of our democracy,” said Liz Archuleta, HECHO spokesperson in Arizona. “Fortunately, enough Senators recognized the value of this important and time-consuming process. I want to especially thank and recognize Senator John McCain of Arizona for his vote.”
“The BLM rule applies to facilities located on public lands and resources owned by all Americans,” said HECHO Board Member Rock Ulibarri, who also serves as San Miguel County Commissioner in New Mexico. “It ensures a fair return to taxpayers from the royalties derived from the oil and gas extracted from our collective, public resources. It also forces companies to use a smart-from-the-start approach by planning for gas capture and transmission prior to development in order to protect these public resources for future generations. Special thanks to Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich of New Mexico for doing the right thing.”
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