CPC official urges Senate to follow House, nullify BLM methane rule

The Colorado Petroleum Council’s executive director called on the US Senate to revoke the US Bureau of Land Management’s methane waste rule under the Congressional Review Act because it potentially would overlap regulations that exist already in many states and create more problems than it would solve. The US House has voted to nullify the rule already, Tracee Bentley noted.

The Colorado Petroleum Council’s executive director called on the US Senate to revoke the US Bureau of Land Management’s methane waste rule under the Congressional Review Act because it potentially would overlap regulations that exist already in many states and create more problems than it would solve. The US House has voted to nullify the rule already, Tracee Bentley noted (OGJ Online, Feb. 3, 2017).

“Industry leadership in innovation and advancement of technologies, coupled with existing regulations, have driven efforts to successfully capture and reduce methane emissions, which is the main component of natural gas,” she told reporters in a Feb. 3 teleconference. “Colorado is helping lead the way, with companies applying some of the most stringent standards in the country to produce clean, safe, affordable energy while being good environmental stewards.”

BLM’s methane rule could stifle innovations that have led to the increased use of gas, which is the main reason energy-related carbon emissions in the US have dropped to levels not seen since the early 1990s, Bentley said. “Nationally, compliance with this rule would cost the industry more than $400 million in 2025,” she said.

Complying with what she called a redundant, flawed, and unnecessary rule could result in as many as 40% of wells on federally administered land that flare being permanently shut in because they would become uneconomical to produce, Bentley said. “Even a 1% loss of royalties could result in more than $14 million of lost federal revenue—far more than the $3-10 million in additional incremental royalties estimated by BLM.”

BLM’s methane rule also duplicates regulatory programs already in place at the US Environmental Protection Agency as well as in several states, Bentley said. “States and EPA possess the legal authority to regulate air-quality, while BLM does not. That authority is being used successfully,” she said. “BLM could do more to help the environment, consumers, manufacturers and the industry by streamlining permitting and approving infrastructure, which would in turn promote greater methane capture.”

Denver-based CPC is one of several petroleum councils that are divisions of American Petroleum Institute working at the state level.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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