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Letter: Members Call on Interior to Withdraw Methane Rule, Address Agency Failures Worsening Emissions

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 27, 2016 -

Today, House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) sent a letter to the Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell about the extreme regulatory burden and overreach of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) methane venting and flaring rule.

This rule adds another layer of duplicative federal regulation on top of already existing federal and state regulations. The rule oversteps BLM’s regulatory jurisdiction, and completely fails to address crucial failures by the BLM to capture methane emissions through common sense methods such as timely right-of-way permitting,” the letter states.

Members request that BLM detail what measures the Department of the Interior (DOI) is taking to address right-of-way permitting backlogs, which are major contributing factors to venting and flaring. A recent GAO report highlighted that these limitations to existing infrastructure were the main reason operators needed to vent or flare gas.

The letter urges Secretary Jewell to withdraw the methane emissions rule altogether and focus on larger issues within DOI’s existing responsibilities to effectively address and further reduce emissions.

[M]any of the Department’s regulations penalize and discourage entrepreneurship, overstep state jurisdiction and drive up costs for developing energy resources of federal land […]. We are concerned that the BLM has rushed forward to finalize new methane emissions measures as a solution in search of a problem. Unfortunately, these regulations fail to address BLM’s ongoing permitting delays for natural gas gathering line rights-of-way,” the letter states.

Overall, 57 Members of Congress including Bishop and McCarthy signed the letter. Click here to read the full letter. 

Contact: Committee Press Office 202-226-9019

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