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Utah Faith Leaders Send Thanks for BLM Methane Rules

Faith groups are praising new Bureau of Land Management rules to curb methane waste on public lands. (Curraheeshutter/iStockphoto)
Faith groups are praising new Bureau of Land Management rules to curb methane waste on public lands. (Curraheeshutter/iStockphoto)
December 1, 2016

SALT LAKE CITY -- Faith leaders from Utah and across the Southwest signed a letter addressed to President Obama and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell thanking them for adopting new measures to reduce natural-gas waste on publicly owned lands.

The letter said the new policies are in sync with church efforts to counter what Pope Francis has called a "throwaway culture."

"All of our resources are finite, and they need to be used well and wisely, and that is what being a good steward is. And that is why this ruling is important,” said Susan Soleil, a board member with Utah Interfaith Power and Light - one of the 25 some groups to sign the letter.

President-elect Donald Trump hasn’t yet taken a position on methane limits, but he has promised to roll back regulations on fossil fuel development. Soleil said she hopes the faith community's support for the Bureau of Land Management's rules will help convince the incoming administration to keep them in place.

Gas lost on public lands isn't processed and brought to market, Soleil pointed out, so reducing waste also means more money from royalties going into tax coffers to help pay for schools, roads and other needs.

"Lost methane equals lost revenue,” she said. "If that money can go back into the schools and the communities that need it, then really it should be captured and the leaks should be stopped."

According to a report by the business consulting firm ICF International, more than $28 million worth of natural gas was wasted in Utah in 2013 alone, and $330 million is lost nationally from public and tribal lands.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - UT