Once again, the Trump administration is showing its true colors through a short-sighted policy decision that willfully ignores accepted science. Today, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) finalized its weakened rule on methane waste for oil and gas operations on our public lands.
This issue is not a case of pitting development of our energy resources against human health. The common-sense and cost-effective protections in the original methane rule were put in place by the Obama administration to reduce harmful methane pollution and to ensure that oil and gas operations are using technological advances that minimize waste. Reducing methane leaks means that instead of having a giant methane cloud over the northwest corner of New Mexico and over the Navajo Nation--a major public health hazard--we can put our natural gas resources to beneficial use.
Minimizing the amount of methane that leaks, vents, or flares, out of oil and gas wells isn't just good for air quality: it's good for business and the bottom line. When oil and gas companies modernize their equipment to reduce leaks, they are able to capture more gas that they can sell, as well as increase worker safety at their wells. Capturing more gas also means more royalties and revenues for states, tribes, and local communities.
Last year, I led a bipartisan group of senators who successfully voted down an effort in Congress to repeal the Obama-era BLM methane waste reduction rule. But President Trump has decided to move us backward anyway. We have a moral obligation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate our contributions to climate change. I won't stop holding this administration accountable for policies that fail to meet that responsibility to our children and future generations.
United States Senator