June 21, 2017

Udall, Cantwell to Zinke: Enforce the Methane Rule

Senators Challenge Trump Administration's Intent to Ignore Methane and Waste Prevention Rule

WASHINGTON – Today, Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), in a letter to Secretary Zinke, questioned the Department of the Interior’s decision to suspend parts of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Methane and Waste Prevention Rule.


On May 10, 2017 the Senate voted against using the Congressional Review Act to repeal the Methane and Waste Prevention Rule. Despite this, on June 15, 2017, the Department published a notice in the Federal Register suspending parts of the Rule under a dubious theory of administrative law. Public input comes before making changes to a rule. Taking public comment after a decision has already been made is nonsensical.

In the letter the Senators wrote, “Nowhere in the Federal Register notice last week did the Department make a finding that industry groups and States are likely to win their lawsuits, suffer irreparable harm if deadlines are not postponed, find the balance of equities tipped in their favor, and that suspending the deadlines is in the public interest. Perhaps recognizing the weakness of its legal position, the Department’s notice indicates that the Bureau of Land Management intends simultaneously to conduct public notice and comment on suspending or extending the relevant compliance dates."

"Apart from our disagreements with some of your policies, we are troubled that your agency continues to seek out new ways to circumvent administrative law. The suspension of parts of the Methane Waste and Prevention Rule seems particularly brazen given that on May 10 the Senate rejected a Congressional Review Act resolution to repeal the Rule. We urge you not to reward, in President Roosevelt’s words, “a haphazard striving for immediate profit.” Instead, you should allow the Rule to go back fully into effect.”

A PDF of the full letter can be found here.