EDF, Citizen Groups and States Urge Trump Administration to Reinstate Waste Prevention Rule

Court heard arguments against the rescission of rule that reduced waste and cut methane pollution

March 6, 2020
Stacy MacDiarmid, (512) 691-3439, smacdiarmid@edf.org

(Oakland, CA) This week, EDF joined a broad coalition of health, environmental, and tribal citizen groups, along with the states of California and New Mexico, to present oral argument before the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, asking the court to reinstate protections that reduce energy waste and pollution on our nation’s public and tribal lands.

The Trump administration has gotten rid of a rule that would have reduced the waste of American natural gas, saving taxpayers money while cutting harmful toxic pollution and emissions of methane, a potent climate pollutant.

Lawyers from California’s Office of the Attorney General, EDF and Earthjustice presented arguments to the court that the Trump administration’s rescission of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Waste Prevention Rule is unlawful and should be overturned.More than $2.5 billion of American taxpayer-owned natural gas has been wasted through leaks or intentional venting and flaring since 2013 – money that could have gone toward schools, healthcare and other vital public projects across the West.

“The Trump administration’s rescission of the Waste Prevention Rule means fewer resources for Western and tribal communities, and more pollution for everyone,” said EDF Attorney Rosalie Winn, one of the attorneys who presented oral argument at Wednesday’s hearing.

The Waste Prevention Rule required operators to control the venting, flaring, and leaks that waste natural gas, using proven and widely-available technologies that are already in use in the industry and already required by leading states. But former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke eliminated all measures of the Waste Prevention Rule that would result in natural gas savings, even though his own agency found that rolling back the rule will cost Americans more than one billion dollars.

The 2016 BLM methane rule has wide support from key stakeholders including local elected officials, business groups, methane mitigation companies, Latino organizations, agricultural groups, sportsmen groups, veterans, public health experts, clean air advocacy organizations and taxpayer organizations.

You can read more about the BLM Waste Rule, including all legal briefs, on EDF’s website.

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