STATEMENT: Scrapping Safeguards Against Methane Waste Is a Loss for Taxpayers, Public Lands, and Clean Air

Washington, D.C. — Today, the U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke issued a rule that allows oil and gas companies to needlessly waste taxpayer-owned natural gas and pollute the air as they drill on America’s public lands. The new rule is expected to cost $1 billion in wasted natural gas and pollution over the next decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s own estimation. In response, Matt Lee-Ashley, senior fellow and senior director of Environmental Strategy and Communications at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement:

This rule is yet another backdoor giveaway to oil and gas lobbyists at the expense of clear air, clean water, and taxpayer wallets. The Trump administration is effectively putting a match to hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues owed to taxpayers and western communities. Today’s action defies the will of western states, local communities, and the U.S. Congress—all of whom agree that methane from national and tribal lands should not be senselessly wasted.

For more information, please contact Sam Hananel at shananel@americanprogress.org, or 202-478-6327.