Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, joined 56 other members of Congress on Wednesday in signing and sending a letter to Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell asking her to withdraw the Bureau of Land Management’s new methane venting and flaring rule.
Led by House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop, R-Utah, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., the letter requests that the rule, which limits the amount of natural gas that can be vented and flared on federal lands, be revoked.
The rule, first proposed in January, attempts to limit the amount of gas escaping into the air during venting and flaring because of its negative environmental effects, including the contribution of greenhouse gases.
The letter states that the rule does not help to solve the BLM’s delays in permitting requests to build pipelines that are used for capturing methane emissions. The review process is meant to take six months for the permits, and the letter states that no BLM field offices have met this target.
It calls the new rule an overstep of the BLM’s jurisdiction, and states that it fails to address missteps by the agency to capture methane emissions through other methods. Instead, it urges Jewell to focus on the other ways to effectively address methane emissions, such as the construction of pipelines.
Southwest Colorado’s San Juan Basin is home to part of the highest concentration of methane in the country.
Kate Magill is a student at American University in Washington, D.C., and an intern for The Durango Herald. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.