News Release: Groups Urge Stronger Rules for Wasted Gas

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Updated: January 19, 2016
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NEWS RELEASE

For immediate release: January 19, 2016

Groups Urge Governor and Congressional Members to Support
Stronger Federal Rules for Wasted Natural Gas
Existing Federal Rules 35 Years Old

The Dakota Resource Council and Taxpayers for Common Sense today sent letters to the North Dakota congressional delegation and Governor Dalrymple urging them to publicly support strong federal rules to limit the release of natural gas into the atmosphere from oil and gas drilling on federal lands. The two groups said it was imperative that leaders at the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) hear from elected officials in the states where this rule will have the most impact.

Oil and gas companies operating on federal lands may release unlimited amounts of natural gas through venting or flaring. Nationwide, venting and flaring from federal lands has almost tripled in recent years, from 23.7 billion cubic feet in 2006 to 66.0 billion cubic feet in 2014,” said the two groups in the letter, noting that the existing federal rules are 35 years old.

The BLM is expected to release a proposed rule in the coming weeks aimed at minimizing the amount of venting and flaring that takes place on oil and gas production facilities on Federal and Indian lands, and establishing standards for determining avoidable versus unavoidable losses.

“We are writing to request that you contact Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and BLM Director Neil Kornze directly and urge them to immediately release a proposed rule that stops the waste of public resources and ensures private landowners and federal taxpayers are getting a fair return,” said the letter that went to Senators Heidi Heitkamp and John Hoeven and Representative Kevin Cramer.

The groups pointed to federal data that oil and gas operators on federal lands in North Dakota had lost 173 billion cubic feet of natural gas from 2006 to 2014, and consumed 42.7 billion cubic feet of natural gas, of which some portion was unintentionally released into the atmosphere. No royalties were paid on any of this gas.

The letter said BLM should create a methane rule that fulfills its fiduciary responsibility to federal taxpayers and prevents waste of federal resources by requiring oil and gas operators to adopt the use of existing technologies to prevent waste of methane.

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