January 22, 2016

BLM Methane Rule a Welcome Step in Reducing Global Warming Pollution

Statement by David Babson, Senior Engineer, Union of Concerned Scientists

Washington (January 22, 2016)—The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has proposed new rules to reduce methane and flaring emissions from oil and gas drilling on public and tribal lands. That’s a step in the right direction for the climate, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

Below is a statement by David Babson, senior engineer in the Clean Vehicles Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“This new rule is a welcome change and will cut a major source of global warming emissions. When oil and gas producers vent, flare or allow leaks of methane, it comes with a real cost to taxpayers and to the climate.

“We’ll be pushing to make sure that this rule is as strong as possible, because methane is the second-largest contributor to global warming, and oil and gas extraction is the biggest single source of methane emissions. This methane should be captured and used carefully, not burned off into the atmosphere. We have the technologies to reduce these emissions now, so this rule could phase in even more quickly than the 3-year timeframe BLM proposed.

“It’s especially important that this rule will apply to both new and existing operations. Oil and gas producers need to be held accountable for practices that waste resources and contribute to climate change. We’re glad to see the administration paying attention to venting, flaring and leaking methane as part of its effort to reduce emissions.”

The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet's most pressing problems. Joining with citizens across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.