Oil and gas operators needlessly waste hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of methane, the main component of natural gas every year through leaks and intentional venting and flaring. This lost American energy resource could be used to heat homes, power vehicles, or generate electricity.
This waste also means less money for states, tribes and the American taxpayer to fund education, infrastructure projects, such as road and bridges, and mitigation projects to address the impacts of energy development to western communities.
Landmark rules to reduce waste
In November 2016 the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) finalized standards requiring operators that drill on taxpayer and tribal-owned lands to curb natural gas waste and pollution.
These rules enjoy wide support, including 81% of Westerners, state and local officials, business groups, methane mitigation companies, Latino organizations, agricultural groups, sportsmen groups, public health experts, clean air advocacy organizations, and taxpayer-focused organizations.
These common sense standards, which withstood attempted rollbacks in Congress, are now being undermined by the Trump Administration in an effort to protect polluters at the expense of taxpayers and their health.
Efforts to cut methane waste has also put American entrepreneurs to work creating innovative, cutting-edge technologies to make it economically feasible for the oil and gas companies achieve reductions.
Studies also show that since lost methane is salable product, cutting methane waste is cost effective. In New Mexico in particular, an economic study found that the BLM methane rule will have little to no negative impact on marginal wells in the state and will in fact increase overall production and royalties paid to support vital services in the state of New Mexico.