(Reuters) - The Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management on Friday announced its plans to update 30-year-old rules for oil and gas production on federal land to limit the “wasteful release” of natural gas and curb methane emissions.
The effort is part of President Barack Obama’s broader climate change strategy based on executive actions, which includes a goal to reduce oil and gas sector methane emissions by up to 45 percent from 2012 levels by 2025.
The rule also comes one week after the agency announced its first major review of the country’s coal program in three decades, including a pause on issuing coal-mining leases on federal land.
“By asking operators to take simple, common-sense actions to reduce waste, like swapping out old equipment and checking for leaks, we expect to cut this waste almost in half,” BLM Director Neil Kornze said.
Between 2009 and 2014, oil and gas producers on public and Indian lands vented, flared and leaked about 375 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of natural gas, the equivalent supply for about 5.1 million households for a year, the BLM said.
Here is a look at the BLM’s proposed rule to crack down on methane waste on federal lands:
Benefits expected by the BLM:
Reporting By Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli