February 12, 2018

Udall, Heinrich Statement on BLM Move to Gut Natural Gas Waste Prevention Rule

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich issued the following statement after the Bureau of Land Management announced that it is proposing to replace the 2016 rule to limit the waste of taxpayer-owned natural gas on public lands. In New Mexico alone, over $100 million in taxpayer-owned natural gas is wasted each year from federal public lands. The BLM’s notice opened the comment period for the proposed changes.

Udall and Heinrich issued the following statement:

“The BLM’s proposal to gut a rule designed to limit wasteful venting and flaring of natural gas would hurt taxpayers, school children, New Mexico’s economy, and our environment. Ultimately, it would rob the state of New Mexico of millions of dollars in royalties that could be used to pay for school books, hospitals, and infrastructure projects, and to keep our air clean.

“The arguments being made against this rule do not hold water, and that's why last year, a bipartisan group of senators successfully voted down an effort in Congress to scrap it. Since the rule came into effect in November 2016, employment data shows no evidence of any jobs lost, and the number of drilling rigs in operation has increased significantly. In Colorado and Wyoming, which also have state-level rules, a methane mitigation business has grown strong, creating new jobs.

"A whopping 75 percent of Westerners support this rule to limit the waste of taxpayer owned natural resources. New Mexicans have another chance to make your voice heard during the comment period over the next 60 days. We encourage every New Mexican and every American to speak out against this proposal to benefit special interests, waste taxpayer-owned resources, and continue polluting the air we breathe.”

Public comments on this proposed rule are due to the BLM within 60 days of the day it appears in the Federal Register, which is expected this week.

How to comment:
Mail: U.S. Department of the Interior, Director (630), Bureau of Land Management, Mail Stop 2134LM, 1849 C St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20240, Attention: 1004-AE52.

Personal or messenger delivery: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, 20 M Street, S.E., Room 2134 LM, Washington, D.C. 20003, Attention: Regulatory Affairs.

Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions at the website.