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Hickenlooper, Bennet Cheer Final Rule to Curb Harmful Methane Leaks from Public Lands

Mar 27, 2024

Final rule established after Hickenlooper and Bennet pushed federal government to follow Colorado’s lead

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet applauded the announcement of a final rule from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) that will reduce methane emissions from the production of oil and gas on federal and Tribal lands, conserving billions of cubic feet of gas that might otherwise have been vented, flared, or leaked.

“Colorado has led the way in reducing methane emissions. Taking basic steps to cut harmful emissions will go a long way to slowing climate change and keep pollutants out of our atmosphere. Now, the rest of the country will follow Colorado’s lead so we can meet our climate goals,” said Hickenlooper. 

“Colorado has led the nation in limiting methane emissions from the oil and gas industry, and has long recognized the harm caused by routine venting and flaring. These practices waste valuable natural resources, risk the health of surrounding communities, and pollute the environment,” said Bennet. “I’m glad BLM followed our state’s example and is taking steps to cut down on these wasteful practices on our public and Tribal lands.”

The final rule comes after Hickenlooper and Bennet urged the agency last year to follow Colorado’s lead by eliminating routine venting and flaring from oil and gas operations on public and Tribal lands. This final rule will conserve billions of cubic feet of gas and keep harmful methane emissions from entering our atmosphere, while generating more than $50 million in additional natural gas royalty payments each year. This conserved gas will be available to power American homes and industries.

Routine flaring is the practice of regularly burning off excess gas during oil and gas production and processing as a waste product; venting allows excess gas to escape directly into the atmosphere without burning it. Methane, a harmful climate pollutant many more times more potent than carbon dioxide, can be released into the atmosphere in pollution from flaring and venting. Human-caused methane emissions are responsible for at least 25 percent of the climate warming we are experiencing today. 

As governor, Hickenlooper brought together environmentalists and the oil industry to create the world’s first methane regulations. Those regulations were used by President Obama as a model for national standards which in turn were used as a basis for the international methane pledge in 2021.

Hickenlooper and Bennet have consistently worked to cut methane emissions and strengthen federal oil and gas methane rules, modeled on Colorado’s. In 2021, Hickenlooper and Bennet led members of the Colorado congressional delegation to push the EPA for stronger methane regulations for the oil and gas sector. Last year, the senators urged the EPA to use data from innovative monitoring technologies like satellite imaging, and tighten restrictions on routine flaring to strengthen methane emission standards. In November, the senators urged the EPA to more accurately track methane emissions. In January, Hickenlooper celebrated the announcement of a conditional commitment from the Department of Energy for up to $189 million in loan guarantees from the Inflation Reduction Act to support the fabrication and installation of a real time methane emissions monitoring network across Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, North Dakota, and New Mexico. 


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