IORC Joins Dozens of Organizations Calling on Congress to Oppose Overturning BLM Methane Waste Rule


January 31, 2017

Dear Member of Congress,

On behalf of our millions of members and supporters, we write to urge you to oppose any effort to use the Congressional Review Act to overturn the Bureau of Land Management’s Methane and Natural Gas Waste Rule. We rely on laws and regulations to protect taxpayer resources and to keep our air and water clean and healthy. While we oppose the use of the CRA for any rule, the BLM rule is one of the anticipated targets to be considered under a Congressional Review Act Resolution.

The BLM rule is a common sense policy that requires the oil and gas industry to reduce venting, flaring, and leaks at industry operations on public and tribal lands by deploying methane mitigation technology. Currently, more than $330 million worth of natural gas is wasted on public and tribal lands each year, meaning that taxpayers could lose out on $800 million in royalties over the next decade due to venting and flaring of this gas. Repealing this rule would harm public health and reduce revenue to the federal government and Western states. The BLM estimates the rule’s net benefits range from $46 to $204 million per year. And economic studies have found the technologies and practices included in this rule to be very cost effective since the gas captured can be sold to the benefit of industry and taxpayers. Leaked natural gas contains volatile organic compounds, an asthma irritant; benzene; and other hazardous air pollutants that are known carcinogens. After Colorado implemented a similar rule, natural gas production increased, and the standard has been popular.

The Congressional Review Act (CRA) is a blunt instrument that seeks to undermine the federal rulemaking process. It allows Congress to overturn a recently finalized rule—major or otherwise—through an expedited process called a Resolution of Disapproval. In the Senate, a Resolution of Disapproval requires only a simple majority vote, may circumvent the committee process and cannot be filibustered. If the resolution passes and is signed by the President, the rule becomes void and the promulgating agency is prevented from issuing a rule that is “substantially the same” in the future without an act of Congress. By essentially voiding the rulemaking process and mandating that substantially similar rules not be pursued in the future, the CRA on the BLM’s Methane Rule wastes taxpayer money and defies the public interest.

We request that you vote in opposition to this attack on commonsense standards which limit wasted resources and protect the American taxpayer, public health, and the environment. Vote no on the BLM Methane CRA Resolution.


Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environment ‐ Colorado Chapter
American Family Voices
Back Country Horsemen of New Mexico
Bold Alliance
Californians for Western Wilderness
Center for Biological Diversity
Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility
Citizens for a Healthy Community
Clean Air Council
Clean Air Task Force
Clean Water Action
Coalition for Clean Air
Colorado Farm & Food Alliance
Conservation Colorado
Conservation Voters New Mexico
Dakota Resource Council
Demand Progress
Earth Action, Inc.
EarthRights International
Elders Climate Action
Environmental Defense Fund
Environmental Entrepreneurs
Environmental Integrity Project
Environmental Law and Policy Center
Environmental Working Group
Friends of the Earth
Grand Canyon Trust
Great Old Broads for Wilderness
Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy
Hair on Fire Oregon
Hixon Center for Sustainable Environmental Design at Harvey Mudd College
Idaho Organization of Resource Councils
Institute for Science and Human Values
Interfaith Power & Light
Iowa Environmental Council
League of Conservation Voters
League of Women Voters of the United States
Los Padres ForestWatch
Mayor of Lafayette, Colorado
Montana Conservation Voters
Montana Environmental Information Center ‐ MEIC
National Association of Consumer Advocates
National Center for Lesbian Rights
National Consumer Voice for Quality Long‐Term Care
National Parks Conservation Association
Natural Resources Council of Maine
Natural Resources Defense Council
New Mexico Sportsmen
NextGen Climate
Northern Plains Resource Council
NW Energy Coalition
Physicians for Social Responsibility
Physicians for Social Responsibility Maine Chapter
Pipeline Safety Coalition
Powder River Basin Resource Council
Public Citizen
Rachel Carson Council
San Juan Citizens Alliance
Sierra Club
Southern Environmental Law Center
Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance
The Ohio Environmental Council
The Wilderness Society
Union of Concerned Scientists
US Human Rights Network
Voices for Progress
WE ACT for Environmental Justice
Western Colorado Congress
Western Environmental Law Center
Western Organization of Resource Councils
Wholly H2O
WildEarth Guardians
Wilderness Workshop
Wyoming Outdoor Council