On Friday, January 22, 2016 the federal Department of the Interior’s (“DOI”) Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) issued a proposed rule on reducing waste and methane emissions in oil and gas operations. The rule would limit oil and gas flaring, venting, and leaking on federal and Indian lands. While the U.S. has become the largest natural gas producer in the world and U.S. oil production is at its highest level in nearly 30 years, the current regulations hearken back to the mid-1980’s, when gas production and greenhouse gas concerns were very different than they are today.
The proposed rule is composed of “commonsense and cost-effective measures,” according to Janice Schneider, Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management. Broadly, the proposed rule would require operators to adopt currently available technologies in order to limit the rate of flaring at oil wells, and would require operators to inspect for leaks and replace equipment that vents methane emissions into the air.Continue Reading BLM Proposes “Commonsense” Rule to Limit Methane Emissions from Oil & Gas Operations