RELEASE: Methane Pollution from Venting and Flaring of Gas on America’s Public Lands and Waters More than Doubled Since 2008
Washington, D.C. — Methane pollution from venting and flaring of gas during fossil-fuel extraction activities on U.S. public lands and waters has risen approximately 135 percent since 2008, according to a new analysis of greenhouse gas, or GHG, emissions from federal lands. The analysis, presented in two papers released today by the Center for American Progress and The Wilderness Society, assesses the volume of methane—a powerful greenhouse gas—emitted from oil, natural gas, and coal extraction activities on federal lands and waters.
In addition to finding that rising volumes of natural gas are being wasted through venting and flaring practices on federal lands, the analysis concludes that fugitive emissions from the leakage of well-site processing, storage, and transportation from conventional and unconventional natural gas production are the source of an even higher volume of methane pollution. Fugitive emissions are the source of at least 3.5 times more methane pollution than the combustion of the extracted fossil fuels themselves and are also higher than the total volume of methane pollution resulting from venting and flaring of gas on federal lands.
“The rising volume of taxpayer-owned gas that is being wasted is not only costing tens of millions of dollars in lost royalty payments, but it’s putting dangerous amounts of methane pollution into our air,” said Matt Lee-Ashley, Senior Fellow and Director of the Public Lands Project at the Center for American Progress. “Industry should be required to use readily available technology to reduce methane pollution and to pay royalties on any taxpayer-owned gas that is wasted.”
As part of the Obama administration’s “Climate Action Plan: Strategy to Reduce Methane Emissions,” the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management, or BLM, is currently developing a proposed rule to curb methane emissions from the venting and flaring of gas from fossil-fuel development on federal lands. The dramatic increases in emissions from venting and flaring over the past five years emphasize the clear need for this rulemaking.
“Better strategies and rules have been long been needed to combat the harmful effects of methane—a more potent GHG than carbon dioxide—and current efforts support the overall goals of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan,” said Chase Huntley, Director of Government Relations with the Wilderness Society. “The administration and the Bureau of Land Management need to strongly regulate the amount of methane emissions that can be traced to our nation’s public lands and make sure that the energy extraction industry wastes significantly less of the nation’s energy.”
The analysis is based in part on a new Stratus Consulting report on GHG emissions from public lands that was jointly commissioned by the Center for American Progress and The Wilderness Society, or TWS.
For more information, please contact Tom Caiazza at 202.481.7141 or firstname.lastname@example.org.