The bakken magazine – cramer says proposed blm methane regs harm oil and gas industry

Extending the comment period on proposed regulations to limit oil and gas industry methane emissions on federal and tribal lands doesn’t go far enough, said Congressman Kevin Cramer, R-N. D.

The U. S. Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) proposed waste prevention rule containing the new methane emission regulations was released Jan. 22. It included a 60-day comment period beginning Feb. 8 when the rule was published in the Federal Register. BLM recently announced that it would extend the comment period to April 22.

“This extension, which falls far short of what’s needed, allows stakeholders some additional time to analyze the impact the proposed regulation will have and provide informed comments,” said Cramer. “These regulations have nothing to do with protecting the environment and everything to do with shutting down the oil and gas industry.”

Cramer said the BLM rule is duplicative of U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and state regulations. He also noted that the oil and gas industry has an incentive to capture natural gas and sell it in the marketplace.

“Federal agency data even shows methane emissions have been reduced at the same time natural gas production has increased,” Cramer said. “The BLM and other federal agencies can do more by approving rights-of-way for additional pipelines in a timely manner.”

On March 17, Cramer sent a letter with 13 other members of the U. S. House urging the BLM to extend the comment period for a minimum of 60 additional days. On Tuesday, Cramer and 42 House of his house colleagues sent a letter urging the House Appropriations Committee to include language prohibiting the BLM and EPA from implementing their proposed methane rules.

According to Cramer, one of the justifications used by the administration for the implementation of the new regulations is the purported environmental and health problems associated with greenhouse gases.

“Even with the dramatic increase in oil and gas development in the state there is no justification for the BLM to adopt these rules because the state’s current regulations protect the environment,” Cramer said. “In fact, the American Lung Association has scored all North Dakota counties with an A grade in its 2015 ‘State of the Air’ report card. The BLM’s new rules duplicate the successful regulatory efforts already in place in North Dakota and create a paperwork and compliance nightmare for many small businesses.”

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