Oppose overturning BLM’s Methane Rule

January 31, 2017

January 31, 2017

Dear Member of Congress,

On behalf of our millions of members and supporters, we write to urge you to oppose any effort to use the Congressional Review Act to overturn the Bureau of Land Management’s Methane and Natural Gas Waste Rule. We rely on laws and regulations to protect taxpayer resources and to keep our air and water clean and healthy. While we oppose the use of the CRA for any rule, the BLM rule is one of the anticipated targets to be considered under a Congressional Review Act Resolution.

The BLM rule is a common sense policy that requires the oil and gas industry to reduce venting, flaring, and leaks at industry operations on public and tribal lands by deploying methane mitigation technology. Currently, more than $330 million worth of natural gas is wasted on public and tribal lands each year, meaning that taxpayers could lose out on $800 million in royalties over the next decade due to venting and flaring of this gas. Repealing this rule would harm public health and reduce revenue to the federal government and Western states. The BLM estimates the rule's net benefits range from $46 to $204 million per year. And economic studies have found the technologies and practices included in this rule to be very cost effective since the gas captured can be sold to the benefit of industry and taxpayers. Leaked natural gas contains volatile organic compounds, an asthma irritant; benzene; and other hazardous air pollutants that are known carcinogens. After Colorado implemented a similar rule, natural gas production increased, and the standard has been popular.

The Congressional Review Act (CRA) is a blunt instrument that seeks to undermine the federal rulemaking process. It allows Congress to overturn a recently finalized rule—major or otherwise—through an expedited process called a Resolution of Disapproval. In the Senate, a Resolution of Disapproval requires only a simple majority vote, may circumvent the committee process and cannot be filibustered. If the resolution passes and is signed by the President, the rule becomes void and the promulgating agency is prevented from issuing a rule that is “substantially the same” in the future without an act of Congress. By essentially voiding the rulemaking process and mandating that substantially similar rules not be pursued in the future, the CRA on the BLM’s Methane Rule wastes taxpayer money and defies the public interest.

We request that you vote in opposition to this attack on commonsense standards which limit wasted resources and protect the American taxpayer, public health, and the environment. Vote no on the BLM Methane CRA Resolution.

Sincerely,

Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environment - Colorado Chapter

Back Country Horsemen of New Mexico

Bold Alliance

Californians for Western Wilderness

Center for Biological Diversity

Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility

Citizens for a Healthy Community

Clean Air Council

Clean Air Task Force

Clean Water Action

Coalition for Clean Air

Colorado Farm & Food Alliance

Conservation Colorado

Dakota Resource Council

Demand Progress

Earthjustice

EarthRights International

Earthworks

Environmental Defense Fund

Environmental Entrepreneurs

Environmental Integrity Project

Environmental Law and Policy Center

Environmental Working Group

Friends of the Earth

Grand Canyon Trust

Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy

Hair on Fire Oregon

Hixon Center for Sustainable Environmental Design at Harvey Mudd College

Idaho Organization of Resource Councils

Institute for Science and Human Values

Interfaith Power & Light

Iowa Environmental Council

League of Conservation Voters

League of Women Voters of the United States

Los Padres ForestWatch

Mayor of Lafayette, Colorado

Montana Environmental Information Center - MEIC

National Association of Consumer Advocates

National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care

National Parks Conservation Association

Natural Resources Council of Maine

Natural Resources Defense Council

New Mexico Sportsmen

NextGen Climate

Northern Plains Resource Council

NW Energy Coalition

Physicians for Social Responsibility

Physicians for Social Responsibility Maine Chapter

Pipeline Safety Coalition

Powder River Basin Resource Council

Public Citizen

Rachel Carson Council

San Juan Citizens Alliance

Sierra Club

SLO CLEAN WATER. ORG

Southern Environmental Law Center

Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance

The Ohio Environmental Council

The Wilderness Society

Union of Concerned Scientists

US Human Rights Network

Voices for Progress

Western Colorado Congress

Western Environmental Law Center

Western Organization of Resource Councils

Wholly H2O

WildEarth Guardians

Wilderness Workshop

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