Victory for Environmentalists, Senate Keeps an Obama-Era Climate Change Rule

Senate Keeps Obama-Era Climate Change Rule
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Senate votes to protect a commonsense policy created to protect taxpayers from the unnecessary waste of natural gas from federal lands

WASHINGTON – Today the Senate voted against an effort to overturn the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Methane Waste Reduction Rule, a commonsense policy created to protect taxpayers from the unnecessary waste of natural gas from federal lands.

Methane, the primary component of natural gas, is a powerful driver of climate change, more so than carbon dioxide. It is also a major contributor to smog, which threatens national park air quality and the health of park visitors.

More than $330 million worth of natural gas extracted from public and tribal lands each year is wasted from leaks, the burning off of gas, or the intentional venting of gas into the atmosphere. Without the BLM rule in place, taxpayers could lose out on as much as $800 million in royalties over the next decade due to wasted gas.

BLM’s Methane Waste Reduction rule was crafted after a thorough multi-year public process resulting in balanced safeguards that protect national parks, public health and ensure revenue to the federal government and Western states. Congress attempted to repeal the rule under the Congressional Review Act, which would have prevented the BLM from ever issuing a similar rule in the future unless directed by Congress.

The Trump administration has indicated that it may reopen public comment on the BLM rule, but today’s vote in the Senate reflects a strong will among the American people to protect clean air for our parks and visitors, mitigate climate change, and ensure that taxpayers are fairly compensated for resources extracted from our public lands.

Below is a statement by Nicholas Lund, Senior Manager of National Parks Conservation Association’s Conservation Programs:

“The Senate’s vote today respects the public’s voice in the way our lands are managed, electing to keep commonsense standards that protect parks and other public lands while saving taxpayer money. Congress has decided to honor years of work and input from park visitors, sportsmen, local communities, tribes, industry, and other stakeholders for how to best manage our natural resources.

“Congress’ vote to maintain this rule will help protect national parks, park visitors and America’s outdoor heritage for future generations.”

SOURCE: National Parks Conservation Association press release, May 10, 2017

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