The Trump administration is seeking to overturn Obama-era regulations aimed at curbing gas flaring and methane emissions generated during oil and gas development.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management announced Monday that it’s proposing eliminating duplicated regulations to streamline permitting and boost energy production nationwide.
The proposal received praise from Republican lawmakers in energy-production states and criticism from environmentalists, who argue the current law effectively curtails methane emissions cause breathing problems and contribute to climate change.
Methane is a main component of natural gas and is often flared at refineries and oil rigs to relieve gas pressure from below. The 2016 rule requires leak inspections, replacement of outdated equipment and limits venting on public and reservation lands, according to the Department of Interior.
Supporters praised Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke for cutting the regulations, saying it’s boost for the economy in rural areas.
“I am glad that Secretary Zinke is proposing to replace the unnecessary and costly methane rule “If left in place, the rule would have discouraged energy production and job creation in Wyoming and across the West,” said Sen. John Barrasso R-Wyo., in a statement provided by the Department of Interior.
The Northern Plains Resource Council, a Billings-based conservation group, urged Zinke, a former Montana congressman, to hold public hearings on the plan in western states where it will have the most impact.
“We in the west, where the majority of BLM land lays, have already given testimony at hearings and submitted a multitude of written comments in support of this rule. The loss of this valuable resource is costing the citizens of this country millions of dollars in unrealized revenue as well as increased healthcare costs for those living close to gas and oil developments,” said Susann Beug of Red Lodge, a member of Northern Plains Resource Council, in a statement.
The public has 60 days to comment on the Trump administration proposal.