May 08, 2017

Udall: CRA to Repeal Natural Gas Waste Prevention Rule is a Giveaway to Big Polluters; Urges Senate to Let CRA Expire

BLM's natural gas waste prevention rule saves taxpayers millions, creates jobs, protects against climate change

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Tom Udall issued the following statement on the Republican effort to repeal the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)'s natural gas waste prevention rule through the Congressional Review Act (CRA). This is the last week the CRA can be used to repeal the rule:

"We've been able to fend off this unnecessary giveaway to big oil companies because senators in both parties know that the BLM's natural gas waste prevention rule is good for taxpayers and for our states. The rule makes sure operators take commonsense steps to prevent natural gas leaks and avoid unnecessary venting and flaring — and in doing so, saves regular citizens tens of millions of dollars in royalties, creates jobs and fights climate change. The only reason to bring this CRA to the floor for a vote is to please the lobbyists for big oil who would prefer to pollute the air and don't care that it comes at the expense of the health of taxpayers in New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, and states across the country.

"Until the rule was implemented late last year, $100 million in taxpayer-owned natural gas was lost each year from oil and gas wells operating on federal public lands in New Mexico. That is money that our cash-strapped state desperately needs to help balance the budget, pay for text books and other educational materials for our students. You can see the wasted gas in infrared photographs taken from space, concentrated in a methane cloud the size of Delaware hovering over the Four Corners region. New Mexicans are deeply concerned about the harm this potent greenhouse gas and associated pollution are doing to our health and our environment. Our children and grandchildren can't afford to go back to a time when oil and gas companies were allowed to waste valuable publicly owned resources into the air, polluting the environment and exacerbating climate change.

"Republicans and Democrats alike know that the CRA is a terrible way to legislate because takes a sledgehammer to the law, preventing the agency from addressing the issue again. The natural gas waste prevention rule was written with careful consideration after months of public and stakeholder comment, and it follows the examples set by Colorado and Wyoming, which have state-level rules that are successfully creating jobs and preventing the waste of resources and revenue. I urge my colleagues to conserve the taxpayers' money and resources, reject legislating by sledgehammer, and let the methane CRA expire."