An Open Letter to US Legislators

Coordinated by the Wilderness Society in coordination with D3 Indivisible Colorado and many, many other organizations in promotion of clean air and clean water. 

Dear Senator Cory Gardner and US Members of Congress, 

On behalf of our tens of millions of members and supporters, the undersigned 82 groups write to urge you to oppose H.J. Res. 36 and S.J. Res. 11, the resolutions of disapproval that seek to use the Congressional Review Act to overturn the Bureau of Land Management's Methane and Natural Gas Waste Rule. Using an extreme tool, like the Congressional Review Act, to overturn this rule would hurt the American people by allowing more American energy to be wasted. Wasting valuable resources not only hurts local and federal budgets, but it also results in more pollution. A vote for the Congressional Review Act resolution is a vote for the oil and gas lobby and against taxpayers and our public resources.
The BLM rule is a common-sense policy that requires the oil and gas industry to reduce venting, flaring, and leaks from industry infrastructure on public and tribal lands by deploying widely available methane mitigation technology. The rule was under consideration for more than three years, garnering public input at 8 public forums and receiving over 300,000 public comments, in addition to multi-agency reviews and many discussions with stakeholders. A rulemaking that was developed with significant public and industry involvement should not be overturned hastily using this blunt tool.

Currently, more than $330 million worth of natural gas is wasted on public and tribal lands each year, meaning that taxpayers could lose out on $800 million in royalties over the next decade due to venting and flaring of this gas. Repealing this rule would harm public health and reduce revenue to the federal government and Western states. The BLM estimates the rule's net benefits range from $46 to $204 million per year, and economic studies have found the technologies and practices included in this rule to be very cost effective. Leaked natural gas contains hazardous air pollutants and volatile organic compounds that are asthma irritants and contain known carcinogens, such as benzene.
The BLM rule is also extremely popular. More than 80 percent of Western voters, who live and work near public lands, support this rule, and over two-thirds of voters across the country want to keep the rule in place. By supporting attempts to overturn this policy, elected representatives would be explicitly going against the wishes of their constituents and the American people.
The Congressional Review Act (CRA) is a blunt instrument that seeks to undermine the federal rulemaking process. If the BLM Rule resolution passes and is signed by the President, the rule becomes void and the promulgating agency is prevented from issuing a rule that is "substantially the same" in the future without an act of Congress. By essentially voiding the rulemaking process and mandating that substantially similar rules not be pursued in the future, the resolution on the BLM's Methane Rule wastes taxpayer money and defies the public interest. Furthermore, it could hurt the Bureau of Land Management’s ability to manage our resources under the law. The Mineral Leasing Act of 1920 is clear that the BLM must not allow the waste of public resources, and by prohibiting a “substantially the same” rule in the future – an untested limitation – Congress runs the risk of tying the hands of the agency to carry out its statutory mandate.
It is vital that you vote in opposition to this egregious attack on commonsense standards which protect the American taxpayer and limit wasted resources. Vote no on the BLM Methane CRA Resolution.

Sincerely, New Mexico
Alaska Wilderness League
Back Country Horsemen of New Mexico
Breathe Utah
Californians for Western Wilderness
Calm Air Visibility Unlimited
Center for Biological Diversity
Citizens for a Healthy Community
Citizens for Clean Air
Citizens United for Responsible Energy Development
Clean Air Task Force
Clean Energy Action
Clean Water Action
Climate Reality Project
Colorado Mountain Club
Colorado Nurses Association
Conservation Colorado
D3 Indivisible Colorado
Dakota Resource Council
Environmental Defense Fund Action
Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2)
Environmental Integrity Project
Environmental Law and Policy Center
Fort Berthold P.O.W.E.R.
Friends of the Earth
Grand Junction Broadband Chapter
Grand Valley Citizens Alliance
Great Old Broads for Wilderness
Green America
High Country Conservation Advocates
Hispanic Access Foundation
Idaho Organization of Resource Councils
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
Interfaith Power and Light
League of Conservation Voters
League of Conservation Voters New Mexico
League of Oil & Gas Impacted Coloradans
League of Women Voters
Los Padres ForestWatch
Mom's Clean Air Force
Mothers Out Front
National Center for Transgender Equality
National Parks Conservation Association
Natural Resources Defense Council
Nature Abounds
New Mexico Climate Action
New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light
New Mexico Sportsmen
New Mexico Wildlife Federation
NextGen Climate
Northern Plains Resource Council
Ohio Environmental Council
Organizing for Action - Grand Junction
Oxfam America
Physicians for Social Responsibility
Powder River Basin Resource Council
Progressive Congress Action Fund
Protect Our Winters
Rocky Mountain Wild
San Juan Citizens Alliance
Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce
Sheep Mountain Alliance
Sierra Club
Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance
The Colorado Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments
The Regeneration Project
The Wilderness Society
Union of Concerned Scientists
United Steelworkers (USW)
Voces Verde
Voices for Progress
Western Colorado Congress
Western Environmental Law Center
Western Organization of Resource Councils
Western Slope Conservation Center
Western Watersheds Project
WildEarth Guardians
Wilderness Workshop
Wyoming Outdoor Council