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A current public lands issue many readers may wish to know about is the Interior Department proposal to relax methane release regulations from oil wells. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Methane Waste Rule was established to limit the amount of methane pollution from oil and gas operations on public lands, simply requiring that companies utilize easily available technology to prevent leaks. It’s a win-win-win: taxpayers save money, air quality goes up, and we lessen our contribution towards climate change. With the knowledge and technology that exists now, there is no reason to move backwards.
But President Trump and Interior Secretary Zinke apparently don’t see it that way. They have announced plans to gut the rule without even a public hearing, despite the fact that Americans have submitted nearly 400,000 public comments in favor of leaving the rule as it is. There is strength in numbers and it is time to use that strength to be heard. As Coloradans holding high public land values, it is our responsibility to stand up to this administration and fight for our health and our future.
Any readers who wish to contact their federal representatives and ask them to oppose relaxing the rule can point out these three aspects: The Republican-controlled Senate voted against repealing the Methane Waste Rule; Exxon XTO, one of the largest oil and gas producers, supports the standards established in the rule; and without the rule, over $400 million of natural gas is lost/wasted per year.
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