3 good reasons to stop methane waste

February 19, 2017 GMT

Last year, the Bureau of Land Management initiated rules to reduce the amount of methane flared, vented, or leaked at oil and gas operations — good news for people in oil country. Flaring, venting and leaking are not only shortsighted practices wasting a valuable resource, but they also are a threat to our health and the environment.

My wife and I can testify to the necessity for clean air. Our cattle ranch, near Bainville in the Montana Bakken, sits near 18 oil wells and a maze of pipelines. My wife’s respiratory difficulties increased dramatically about the same time these impacts occurred. Largely due to her health, we now spend much time in New Mexico, leaving our adult son in charge. This change has made a huge difference. In Montana, she uses her inhaler two to three times a day; in New Mexico, she might use it once a month.

Senate Republicans wish to roll back BLM rules. Clamoring about “federal overreach” and “excessive regulation,” they miss three crucial points:


1. Outgassing methane really is dangerous!

2. Wasting natural gas on federal lands is costly to everyone.

3. When oil is worth $100/barrel, companies drill Montana; when it is $40/barrel, they do not. Our weather and remote location determine this, much more than regulation.

Please ask Sen. Jon Tester and Sen. Steve Daines to keep the BLM methane rules in place.

Robert Wilson