Comments are due Friday, April 22nd. You can submit them here by clicking on the “Comment Now” button.
Nearly everybody agrees companies need to fix leaky, faulty equipment and reduce natural gas waste as much as possible. Reducing unnecessary waste will also go a long way toward protecting people and public health, while at the same time curbing emissions of methane, which is an extremely potent greenhouse gas.
To reduce waste from leaks, venting and flaring, the Bureau of Land Management has proposed a new rule for oil and gas production facilities.
This rule is necessary and important because:
- Leaked, flared, or vented natural gas contributes significantly to air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. In a single year, Wyoming has seen 14.2 billion cubic feet of natural gas vented, flared, or leaked into the atmosphere. This proposed rule would prohibit venting, take steps to limit flaring, and require companies to find leaks and repair them.
- Gas that is leaked, vented, or flared is a non-renewable resource that is lost forever. Not only is it lost, but taxpayers also earn no revenue from it since in Wyoming, companies are exempt from paying state severence taxes on natural gas as long as it’s flared or vented instead of sent to market. In a single year, American taxpayers are estimated to have lost tens of millions of dollars in federal royalties alone because of wasted natural gas that was vented, flared, or just leaked into the air.
- While Wyoming has better rules than some other states regarding flaring, venting, and leaks, they are not as good as they should be. The BLM proposed rule makes several improvements upon the Wyoming rules.
- By bringing all states up to a similar regulatory standard, the playing field is leveled – which prevents some states from being less attractive to industry than others because they choose to have more protective rules.
- Finally, solutions to this problem are simple and cost-effective, but not every operator is going to employ them unless there is a rule that says they have to.
If you’d like to read the Wyoming Outdoor Council’s comments on the proposal, including our suggestions for improvements to the rule, please view them here (pdf).