Today, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released a new proposed rule to help
prevent the waste of federal oil and gas resources. In the western United States, fracked oil wells often release associated natural gas when oil is extracted. Oil and gas companies often intentionally flare or vent the associated natural gas in situations when pipeline infrastructure is not available.
Flaring and venting not only represent a significant waste of a resource that can benefit our communities via royalty and tax revenue, but also impact our communities by contributing to smog, affecting public health by exposing communities to toxic volatile organic compounds, and emitting carbon dioxide and methane, which contribute to climate change. Flaring can be avoided by oil and gas companies if sufficient gas-capture planning is completed prior to drilling.
In response to the announcement, Karen Sjoberg from Citizens for Clean Air and Western Colorado Congress issued the following statement:
“In 2014, Colorado passed ground breaking air quality rules for oil and gas production and it is time for the rest of the country to follow suit. We have shown that the right balance can be struck between public protections and industry development.”
“However, even if states make changes on a local level, methane pollution is not limited to state lines. For this effort to be meaningful, we need rules that fairly govern all air-sheds and protect all people equally. Air pollution from oil and gas sites is not a problem that can be solved piecemeal; nationwide rules are needed to level the playing field for states, industry, and the public health of all Americans. “
“We applaud the Bureau of Land Management for taking this major step to reduce oil and gas related air pollution and the waste of federally and tribally owned gas resources. We look forward to reviewing the proposed rule in detail, seeing how it compares to Colorado’s own regulations, and helping people to comment on the rules.”
Find more information about the rule at the Department of Interior’s website here. For a copy of WORC’s report The Flaring Boom, click here, and for a state by state comparison of methane regulations, click here.