BLM proposes major revisions to 2016 venting, flaring rule

The Trump administration has proposed to repeal most of the requirements of a 2016 federal rule designed to reduce methane emissions from oil and natural gas drilling on federal land, Kallanish Energy reports.

On Monday, the Bureau of Land Management, part of the Interior Department, said most of the Obama-era rule was overly burdensome, duplicative and costly to drillers and should be largely epealed.

The agency wants to go back to rules similar to those that were in place prior to the 2016 final Waste Prevention Rule.

Environmental groups charged that the Trump administration was gutting what’s called the venting and flaring rule.

Industry groups including the American Petroleum Institute said they were pleased by the BLM plan.

The 2016 rule called for drillers to draft leak-minimization plans, update equipment and detect and fix leaks at wells and facilities on federal and tribal lands.

Methane, the main component of natural gas, is a greenhouse gas.

“We need smart regulations, not punitive regulations,” said BLM spokesman Joe Balash in a statement. “We believe this proposed rule strikes that balance and will allow job growth in rural America.”

The new rule would better align the regulations with the Trump administration’s energy development plans, job creation and reduced compliance costs, the BLM said.

BLM’s new plan is subject to a 60-day public comment period, after it appears in the Federal Register later this week.

Last December, the BLM had suspended the 2016 rule until Jan. 17, 2019, and said the rule was being reviewed.

The review was triggered by an order last March from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

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