PNS Daily News - October 16, 2019 

Farmers in DC to discuss trade and the rural economic crisis; also Lily Bohlke reports on the Democratic debate -- from 2020 Talks.

2020Talks - October 16, 2019 

Last night in Ohio the fourth Democratic debate covered issues from health care, gun control and abortion to the Turkish invasion of Syria. What's clear: Sen. Elizabeth Warren has replaced former VP Joe Biden as the centerstage target.

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BLM Finalizes Rules to Limit Gas Waste on Public Lands

New rules to limit natural-gas waste on public lands are being met with opposition by Congressional Republicans and the oil and gas industry. (BLM)
New rules to limit natural-gas waste on public lands are being met with opposition by Congressional Republicans and the oil and gas industry. (BLM)
November 17, 2016

DENVER – As the clock ticks down on the Obama administration's final days, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has finalized rules to reduce natural gas waste on publicly owned lands.

An Environmental
Defense Fund study
shows $330 million worth of gas currently is lost through leaks, flares and venting – enough energy to supply a city the size of Denver for a year.

Michael Surrusco, senior policy analyst with Taxpayers for Common Sense, says the new rules also could put money into state coffers.

"Most of the federal lands are in the western states,” he points out. “This rule will mean more gas is being captured and sold and the royalties that come from that are split between the federal government and states. So it should increase the revenues for states."

Some Congressional Republicans have promised to overturn the rules, which would go into effect days before Obama leaves office.

The Interior Department's announcement quickly was followed by an oil and gas industry lawsuit.

Industry groups argue operators already are cutting emissions and say new regulations would increase costs.

A recent Colorado College poll found 80 percent of westerners, across party lines, support efforts to curb methane waste on public lands.

Dawn Mullally, director of air quality and transportation for the American Lung Association, says the incoming Trump administration and the GOP controlled Congress should consider the rules' potential to reduce air pollution that has a direct impact on public health.

"We're hopeful that they will see that this is important,” she states. “Not only are you protecting community health, but there's an economic benefit to preventing people from becoming sick and getting hospitalized as well."

In August, NASA confirmed a 2,500 square mile cloud of methane over the Four Corners region was largely due to oil and gas production.

The BLM says in addition to reducing climate pollution, the new rules will create a national standard.

Since Colorado implemented regulations limiting methane waste in 2014, state regulators have reported a 75 percent reduction in equipment leaks.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO