The Us Is Trying To Cut Down On Methane Emissions From Oil And Gas On Public Lands With New Rules


There will be fewer methane leaks from oil and gas drilling on public areas, the Biden administration said on Wednesday.

Other government agencies are also working to cut down on methane emissions. Methane is a strong greenhouse gas that leaks from drill sites and pipelines and makes climate change worse.

The United States makes almost a tenth of its oil and gas on government lands, mostly in Western states like New Mexico and Wyoming.

Oil and gas drillers have to make plans to find leaks, fix them, and cut down on waste because of the rules. Also, if the natural gas loss from flaring or venting could have been avoided, they have to pay taxes for that gas.

The Interior Department said that the rule would save billions of cubic feet of gas that would have been released, flared, or leaked otherwise. This would earn the federal government more than $50 million in extra royalties every year.

“This final rule updates rules that were made 40 years ago and furthers the Biden-Harris administration’s goals to stop waste, protect our environment, and make sure American taxpayers get a fair return,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said in a statement.

The new rules come after years of legal battles over methane rules made by the government of former President Barack Obama. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) of the Interior’s rule is mostly about preventing waste, which is something it is legally allowed to do.

The American Petroleum Institute (API), a trade group for the oil and gas business, said it was looking over the rule to see if BLM had gone too far.

“API supports a smart regulatory framework for reducing methane emissions,” API vice president of upstream policy Holly Hopkins said in a statement. “However, overlapping regulations and a lack of coordination between policymakers could slow down progress, make it harder to develop on federal lands, and lead to regulatory incoherence.”

Environmental groups were happy with the new rule.

“Limiting methane waste on public lands is good for taxpayers, producers, and communities that are hurt by the pollution and waste,” said Jon Goldstein, senior head of regulatory and legislative affairs at the Environmental Defense Fund.

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