GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.- - Many gather outside of the Post Office on Tax Day to show support for the Bureau of Land Management Methane Waste Reduction Rule.
The BLM Methane Waste Reduction Rule is essentially an attempt to reduce the amount of methane waste created by oil and gas producers. The regulation came into effect in November, and now may be repealed by Congress due to the Congressional Review Act. "There seems to be a large attempt to get rid of all regulations right now through the Congressional Review Act. The rule just wipes out regulations with no hope of putting them back again," says Karen Sjoberg, the Chair of the Citizens for Clean Air.
The rally was also a call on Senator Cory Gardner to defend the regulation in Congress. Many say the taxpayers are missing out on revenue that could be generated from methane waste on federally owned lands. "When this methane is flared up and not captured, it then obviously cannot be sold. And if it is not sold, there are no taxes paid on it," says Peggy Shaw, a supporter of the regulation. According to some, taxpayers can actually save money by keeping the regulation. "In Colorado particularly, it's estimated that 24-31 million dollars a year are lost from methane waste off these sites," says Emily Hornback, Community Organizer with Western Colorado Congress. Another reason behind the supporters of the regulation is the environment, according to those at the rally.
Others say the regulations are going to hurt jobs and make it more difficult for oil and gas producers to operate. "It's really unnecessary, especially in Western Colorado - it's a job killer," says Marjorie Haun, a supporter of the repeal. Haun also says the newer technology of hydraulic fracking has reduced the amount of methane waste.
Congress will make their decision on this regulation in May.