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Repeal the Venting & Flaring Rule

Posted By Lyndsey Kleven, Communications Coordinator, Monday, March 20, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, March 21, 2017

In today's headlines it's apparent that we need to contact Senator Portman on use of the Congressional Review Act (CRA) for the BLM Venting and Flaring Rule. 

Repeal of Obama Drilling Rule Stalls in the Senate
The Hill | 3/21/2017
The GOP’s effort to roll back contentious Obama-era regulations is hitting a snag. Some Republican senators are coming out against a resolution that would repeal an Interior Department regulation governing oil and natural gas drilling on federal land. The rule is designed to cut down on the release of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

ACTION ITEM: 
Below is a draft letter which we ask you send to Senator Portman. You can click here to easily access the submission page (hosted on Enervest website), which will email Senator Portman’s office directly regarding the issue. For business owners, please share this email with your staff and any others you feel may be affected so they too can contact the Senator.

WHY: 
BLM’s Venting and Flaring Rule, which was finalized in the waning days of the Obama Administration, will have an impact on Ohio producers with acreage in the Wayne National Forest Proclamation Boundary. The Venting and Flaring Rule would require producers to install costly emissions control equipment on wells where it may not be economic to do so-which could lead to the premature plugging of wells before the end of their productive life. While we originally believed that the Venting and Flaring Rule would only affect future wells on federal lands, we have learned that is NOT the case and the rule will be applied to previously drilled wells. For those producers who have leases with landowners that may revert to federal mineral ownership at some point in the future, we are of the understanding that those well may be subject to the venting and flaring rule when those minerals revert back to federal ownership. So, while the rule may not affect you now, it may in the future if we do not act.

We have an opportunity to get Congress to act to repeal the Venting and Flaring rule using the Congressional Review Act (CRA). The House has passed the CRA to repeal the BLM Venting and Flaring rule, and we need the Senate to do the same.  Time is of the essence as it has to be done by March 24.

This regulation, released at the eleventh hour by the Obama Administration, will impact adversely the ability of independent oil and natural gas producers to operate on federal lands.

While there are many aspects of this rule that are flawed, none is more blatant than the lack of authority the BLM has under the Minerals Leasing Act to regulate methane emissions.  

TO SUBMIT:
Below we have drafted a letter which you should send to Senator Portman. We encourage you to personalize it to reflect how this rule will directly negatively impact you and your business. This must be done before Thursday or we will lose our brief window of opportunity for the Senate to act.

You can click here to access the form letter (hosted on Enervest website), which will allow you to easily email Senator Portman’s office directly regarding the issue. 


Example Letter:

Dear Senator Portman,

As a member of the Ohio oil and natural gas industry, I would like to express my strong support for use of the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to repeal the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Waste Production, Production Subject to Royalties, and Resource Conservation rule (commonly referred to as the BLM methane Venting and Flaring Rule). The Joint Resolution will nullify the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) rule by the same name published in the Federal Register on November 18, 2016.  If this rule is not repealed it will have a significant impact on existing and future operations in the Wayne national Forest!

Over the course of this rulemaking, our industry consistently outlined concerns that this rule is unnecessary.  I believe the BLM ignored substantive information in favor of pushing through an environmental agenda as part of the Obama Administration’s Climate Action Plan. This regulation, released at the eleventh hour by the Obama Administration, will impact adversely the ability of independent oil and natural gas producers to operate on federal lands.

While there are many aspects of this rule that are flawed, none is more blatant than the lack of authority the BLM has under the Minerals Leasing Act to regulate methane emissions. Congress delegated that task to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Clean Air Act in 1963.  As a result, portions of the rule not pertaining to air emissions will not be subject to the CRA’s prohibition on promulgating a substantially similar rule.

The economic justification provided by BLM for the rule is outdated, making it inaccurate, and plays heavily into the mantra of monetizing the ‘social cost of methane.’ Cost estimates for the rule come from a 2014 carbon limits study and maintain the assumption that natural gas is currently trading at $4/mcf, which is highly inflated for today’s market. The fugitive emissions program outlined in the rule will result in many marginal wells that produce less than 15 barrels of oil per day or 90 mcf of gas per day to be plugged as the cost of installing and maintaining mandatory measuring equipment is not viable at a low rate of production. This means that states and the federal government will forgo $114 million annually.

Reducing methane emissions is in the best interest of every oil and natural gas producer. Producers have every incentive to capture and sell as much of their product as possible to consumers, rather than letting it escape into the atmosphere. However, currently, a lack of infrastructure and gathering lines to collect gas at the wellhead and an extremely slow process to permit pipeline right-of-ways by the BLM make it difficult for producers to safely transport our product to market. Independent producers repeatedly shared our concerns with and provided industry data to the Obama Administration, only to be ignored.

Again, as an employee of an independent producer of oil and natural gas, I strongly urge you to support the repeal this unnecessary and costly rule.

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