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Tracee Bentley Press Call on BLM's Methane Rule

As prepared for delivery

Press call statement
Tracee Bentley, executive director, Colorado Petroleum Council
February 23, 2017

Good morning, thank you for joining today’s call. We are urging the Senate to follow the House and support a disapproval resolution on the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Methane and Waste Prevention rule because the flawed rule doesn’t improve upon successes in U.S. methane emissions reductions and could negatively impact American consumers, local revenues and energy security as well.

America’s oil and gas producers have reduced methane emissions by 21 percent from 1990 – 2015 at the same time they increased gas production by over 45 percent.

Industry leadership in innovation and advancement of technologies, coupled with existing regulations, have driven efforts to successfully capture and reduce methane emissions, which is the main component of natural gas. Colorado is helping lead the way – with companies applying some of the most stringent standards in the country to produce clean, safe, affordable energy while being good environmental stewards.

But the additional methane rule imposed by the Bureau of Land Management could stifle innovations that have led to the increased use of cleaner-burning natural-gas; that increase is the main reason why energy-related carbon-emissions, in the United States, have fallen to levels not seen since the early ‘90s. 

The added cost of complying with this redundant, flawed, and unnecessary rule could result in as many as 40 percent of federal wells that flare being permanently shut in – as they would become uneconomical to produce. 

Even a one percent loss of royalties could result in lost federal revenues of over 14 million dollars – far more than the 3 million to 10 million dollars, in additional incremental royalties estimated by the Bureau of Land Management. 

These declining revenues would directly impact state and local governments. 

And, such a drop in production would reduce the availability of affordable energy to consumers. Declining production would also lessen U.S. energy security.

Less production hurts taxpayers – reducing royalty revenues as operators are forced to reduce production, if not stop altogether, in order to meet added limitations. BLM could do more to help the environment, consumers, manufacturers and the industry by streamlining permitting and approving infrastructure, which would, in turn, promote greater methane capture.

The Bureau of Land Management’s rule is also duplicative of regulatory-programs that are already in place – both from the EPA, and at the state-level. States and the EPA possess the legal-authority to regulate air-quality – while the Bureau of Land Management does not.  And, that authority is being used successfully.

The oil and natural gas industry has proven that we can protect the environment, grow our economy, add to state and local revenues, and has simultaneously helped save the average American family an average of $1,337 per year.

Despite our industry’s success in reducing methane emissions, the BLM has imposed a flawed regulation that adds significant costs and reduces local revenues, without corresponding environmental or consumer benefits.

We urge the Senate to follow the House’s lead – and vote to repeal the Bureau of Land Management’s methane rule. 

Thank you, and I am ready to take your questions.

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