Conservationists Back Congressional Effort to Restore Methane Controls
Tuesday, May 4, 2021
Clarification: An earlier version of this story inaccurately described the group Public Lands Solutions. It is a conservation organization.
MOAB, Utah -- Conservationists and others are optimistic key climate-change regulations on methane leaks rolled back during the Trump administration will soon be reinstated.
The U.S. Senate passed a resolution under the Congressional Review Act last week to reverse a 2017 executive order which led to the elimination of an Environmental Protection Agency rule, requiring oil and gas producers to control methane emissions. The measure now is pending in the House.
Jason Keith, managing director of the nonprofit Public Lands Solutions, said controlling emissions at wells on public lands in Utah and other states could "cool down" the current methane "hot spot" in the Four Corners region.
"It would do some very simple things that most of the big oil and gas companies already support, which are on-the-shelf technologies to capture leaks and also phase out the practice of flaring," Keith explained.
Many petroleum producers consider methane to be a waste product not worth the effort to capture. However, a recent study found controlling methane emissions now could slow global warming by as much as 30%.
Keith's group analyzes public lands for recreation opportunities. He argued emissions from more than 8,000 inactive wells in states such as Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming pose a serious threat to people, wildlife, outdoor recreation and rural economies.
"You're going to get people to show up if your brand said, 'Protected landscapes, healthy recreation experience.'" Keith contended. "For us, something like the effort to roll back the rollback is one of the easiest things that we can do to try to start addressing climate change."
He added capping wells and collecting methane could also provide a financial benefit.
"This is a public resource that is just being thrown away, that could be sold and taxpayers could reap the benefit," Keith asserted. "This is one of the most basic, lowest-hanging fruit you could get to combat climate change."
Keith pointed out many Utahns backing the restoration of methane rules were disappointed Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, did not vote for the resolution, but hope several members of the state's House delegation will back the measure.
get more stories like this via email
Research is emerging about the secondary trauma school staff members face after helping students during the pandemic. As summer moves forward…
Health and Wellness
A Florida judge plans to put a hold on the state's new, 15-week abortion ban, set to take effect today. He said it is unconstitutional and will issue …
Three projects in Idaho have been selected to receive grants from the AARP Community Challenge. Among them is the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial in …
Montanans get a sense of what soil health is like on farms and ranches across the state with Northern Plains Resource Council's soil crawls. The …
A new tool aims to help older adults in Arkansas and beyond who receive Medicare track what happens at their doctor appointments. It also can help …
A campaign in Maine is gathering signatures to replace the state's investor-owned energy grid with a consumer-owned utility. Central Maine Power (…
Another important U.S. Supreme Court ruling this month has been overshadowed by the controversy about overturning abortion rights. Legal experts say …
By Sarah Melotte for The Daily Yonder.Broadcast version by Eric Galatas for Colorado News Connection for the Public News Service/Daily Yonder Collabor…