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Republicans Vote To Increase Waste And Pollution By Fossil Fuels Corporations On Public Lands

Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives approved by a vote of 221 to 191 a congressional resolution that will destroy the rule of the Bureau of Land Management on Waste Prevention, Production Subject to Royalties, and Resource Conservation.

What is that Rule on Waste Prevention?

The goal of the rule is: “to reduce the waste of natural gas from mineral leases administered by the BLM. This gas is lost during oil and gas production activities through flaring or venting of the gas, and equipment leaks.” The Bureau of Land Management is the federal agency that administers the lands that are held in collective ownership by the American people. That management includes management of the cut-rate leases that are given to big corporations that profit from drilling for oil and gas and selling it to be burned

The technology to extract petroleum and gas has changed dramatically in recent years, including the development of fracking techniques. However, until last year, the Bureau of Land Management had not updated its waste prevention regulations for the industry in over 30 years. The Rule on Waste Prevention brought regulations up to date to deal with present-day drilling equipment rather than the equipment that was in use last century.

One of the problems that has developed with new fossil fuels drilling equipment is the waste of massive amounts of methane (what the fossil fuels giants euphemistically refer to as “natural gas”). Fossil fuels corporations currently waste 75 billion cubic feet of methane on their drilling sites on public lands every year. They just burn it off, in a process called “flaring”, which produces gigantic flames in the middle of nowhere.

Those flames aren’t just a waste. They produce dangerous air pollution, and release greenhouse gases that accelerate the crisis of climate change.

The Rule on Waste Prevention sought to decrease the waste, the pollution, and resulting climate impact. The rule was based upon scientific data finding that wasteful methane flares created by oil and gas companies on public lands “harm local communities and surrounding areas through visual and noise impacts from flaring, and regional and global air pollution problems of smog, particulate matter, toxic air pollution (such as benzene, a carcinogen) and climate change.”

The Republican resolution passed yesterday seeks to re-establish out-of-date regulations that matched energy technology that existed way back in the 1980s. The Republican resolution actually seeks to create the waste of billions of cubic feet of methane, returning oil and gas wells to 20th century standards.

Why would the Republicans do such a thing? The answer is money. Congressional Republicans have been placed in office with fossil fuels corporations that pay for their campaigns, and for the shadowy political action committees that act as informal extensions of congressional campaigns.

Republicans in Congress voted yesterday to increase waste, to increase pollution, and to speed up climate change – all so that their patrons at oil and gas corporations can take home bigger paychecks with bigger profits.

With the destruction of the Rule on Waste Prevention, oil and gas companies will be allowed by Republicans to take methane from public lands, burn it off, and pay absolutely no royalties to the government in compensation. So, the Republican resolution yesterday also will increase the budget deficit, wrecking any chance for a balanced budget as it plays havoc with air quality.

Three Democrats joined the House Republicans in voting in favor of increasing waste and pollution by oil and gas corporations on public lands. Their names are: Jim Costa, Henry Cuellar, and Collin Peterson.

Recognize them? These three pro-Trump Democrats also voted this week to allow mining companies to cut corners, releasing more toxic pollution into America’s drinking water.

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