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EEN is Grateful for Final BLM Rule That Will Curb Methane Waste

Natural gas drilling site flaring in front of blue sky

On March 27, the Department of the Interior announced a final rule from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to curb the waste of our precious natural resources during the production of oil and gas on federal and Tribal lands. On behalf of the 600,000 pro-life Christians who have taken action to support methane emission reductions, the Evangelical Environmental Network applauds BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning and the Biden Administration for these modernizations, which are more than 40 years in the making. The final rule will require oil and gas companies to find and fix gas leaks, adopt current technology, cut down on wasteful gas venting and flaring, and take reasonable steps to avoid natural gas waste from the very beginning of operations. Since the 1980s, the percentage of natural gas on public lands lost to venting (the intentional release of natural gas) and flaring (the burning of vented natural gas) has more than doubled. The updated requirements will enable BLM to better meet its statutory obligations to use all reasonable precautions to prevent avoidable waste of oil and gas.

In response, The Rev. Dr. Jessica Moerman, President & CEO of the Evangelical Environmental Network, released the following statement:

“‘Status quo’ industry practices have failed to steward our precious natural resources well, carelessly allowing natural gas to go to waste. These reckless industry practices also threaten the health of our most precious resource: our children. Venting and flaring of natural gas spews dangerous levels of soot (PM2.5), climate-warming methane, and other life-threatening toxics into communities near gas production sites with devastating impacts. BLM’s modernizations to prevent methane waste are much welcomed and long overdue. As evangelicals called to take good care of God’s creation and defend life, we applaud this important step in the right direction. 

“This is also a win for fiscal responsibility. The American taxpayer and budget-strapped local communities will finally receive their rightful share of more than $50 million in royalties on wasted gas to invest in schools, education, health care, and critical infrastructure; and billions of cubic feet of conserved gas will be recovered to power American homes and businesses. However, the job is not yet done. It is past time to eliminate all routine venting and flaring to wisely steward our nation’s precious resources and defend our children’s health and future.”

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