On Wednesday, May 10, the Senate voted on legislation that would remove federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) regulations on methane. This rule, finalized in November, 2016, limits the venting, flaring and leaking of methane from oil and gas operations on public lands. It is meant to reduce waste, and provide greater revenues to taxpayers.
In a vote that only required a simple majority to pass, the Senate voted against the resolution by a vote of 49 to 51.
The American Security Project sends its thanks especially to the three Republican Senators who voted against repealing the rule: Senator Graham of South Carolina, Senator Collins of Maine, and Senator McCain of Arizona.
The American Security Project had argued in letters to Senators, an op-ed, advertisements (see picture), and direct meetings that the BLM methane rule is important for national security, and should not be repealed.
This rule on methane leakage on BLM lands is important. Instead of rolling back important regulations, the government and the private sector should build on progress. The private sector should do all it can to immediately reduce emissions, and then the EPA complete its ongoing rule-making, mandated by law under the Clean Air Act, to finalize standards for existing sources of methane as well.
As BGen Cheney, USMC (Ret) wrote in his oped, Upholding the BLM Methane rule is a no-brainer for our energy security and a stronger America:
Wasting methane is not only irresponsible, it has serious national security implications that could impact America’s role as a leader in fostering energy security. Today, Russia has a stranglehold on natural gas markets from Italy to Germany to the Ukraine. Our domestic energy resources should be put on the open market and not go up in flames while our friends are too dependent on Russian energy resources.
Thankfully, we have the tools in place to cut natural gas waste. In fact, the methane mitigation industry has continued to grow as states and the federal government have taken action to cut methane. Now, more than 75 companies at over 500 locations across the U.S. are putting Americans to work manufacturing equipment and finding and fixing leaks in the field.
Thanks to Senators Graham, McCain, and Collins for their support in opposing this wrongheaded legislation.