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Wnited States Senate WASHINGTON, DC 20510 February 2, 2017 ‘The Honorable Mitch McConnell Majority Leader United States Senate ‘The Capitol, Room S-230 Washington, D.C. 20510 ‘The Honorable Lisa Murkowski The Honorable Chuck Schumer Democratic Leader United States Senate ‘The Capitol, Room S-221 ‘Washington, D.C. 20510 ‘The Honorable Maria Cantwell Chairman Ranking Member ‘Committee on Energy & Natural Resources Committee on Energy & Natural Resources United States Senate United States Senate Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 304 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 304 Washington, D.C. 20510 Washington, D.C. 20510 Dear Leader McConnell, Leader Schumer, Chairman Murkowski and Ranking Member Cantwell: As you know, the Department of the Interior finalized the Methane and Waste Prevention Rule to prevent the needless waste of federally owned natural gas resources in November of 2016. We, the undersigned Senators, urge you to protect the hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue due to American taxpayers for the development of publicly owned energy resources by ceasing efforts to dismantle this regulation using blunt instruments, such as the Congressional Review Act (CRA), The Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management rule seeks to limit the waste of public and tribal natural gas resources currently estimated to total $330 million per year. In 2013 alone, the amount of federally owned natural gas wasted due to venting and flaring resulted in lost royalties to the nation and states, included nearly $4 million for Colorado, nearly $7.7 million for New Mexico, and more than $14.8 million in Wyoming. This is millions of dollars that could go to state infrastructure needs, schools, and emergency services. This rule revises decades-old regulations pursuant to the ageney’s statutory obligation under the Mineral Leasing Act to ensure “that the permittee or lessee will, in conducting his explorations and mining operations, use all reasonable precautions to prevent waste of oil or gas developed in the land.” (See. 16 amended) Under the law, BLM has the obligation to conserve the oil and gas resource, prevent waste, and ensure that taxpayers receive a fair return on production from federal leases. The Congressional Review Act is an exceedingly blunt tool for Congress to undertake to address any lingering concerns about commonsense revisions to an aging rule. In fact, in 2010 the non- partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) called for the Department of the Interior to improve its data collection and address the limitations of its previous regulation, which is exactly what the new rule does. But the CRA would undo these waste minimization and taxpayer protection guidelines — and it would do so without public input, and in a way that would make it difficult to address GAO’s good governance recommendations going forward. The CRA is an improper and radical way to address potential issues that some members may have with this particular regulation, The provisions of the rule are based on recommendations from several independent government studies as well as stakeholder input at public forums in 2014, Over almost three years, the federal government undertook 8 public forums and read through more than 300,000 public comments. Afier receiving numerous requests from the public, the BLM extended the 60 day comment period on the proposed rule an additional 14 days. This has been a remarkably open, transparent process that has incorporated comments and suggestions from all stakeholders including state and local governments, industry, native nations and the public at large. This regulation will help ensure taxpayers, state governments, and tribal nations receive every dollar due for the use of publicly owned resources at a reasonable cost to producers. The regulations are commonsense and cost effective, as ICF International also found that up to 40% of natural gas ean be captured with a cost of just a penny per thousand cubic feet of natural gas produced. And, by phasing in requirements, the rules will enable producers to plan for an orderly transition (o ultimately cut flaring in half at oil wells on public and tribal lands. In addition, this regulation will support a rapidly expanding segment of the oil and gas industry specializing in methane waste mitigation. Manufacturing, development and outfitting of oil and {gas wells with these technologies is a vibrant and growing American business already located in 46 states throughout the country, This burgeoning industry needs the certainty that comes with a common baseline standard across the West to invest in growth. The Methane and Waste Prevention Rule would also encourage significant infrastructure investments to move recoverable natural gas to plants and refineries. Finally, leaked natural gas imposes stark public health risks, High levels of smog can harm everyone, but children, senior citizens, and people with asthma are particularly at risk of heart attacks, hospitalization, and lower quality of life. Natural gas releases frequently include other toxic chemicals that impact health, such as hydrogen sulfide, toluene, xylene, benzene and formaldehyde, ‘These toxic air pollutants increase the chance of cancer, respiratory, neurological, reproductive, developmental and other serious health problems. ‘Ata minimum, we believe that the public deserves full consideration of this measure on the floor to ensure we are fully protecting the health and interests of the American taxpayer and ‘minimizing preventable waste of federal resources because the American people see a fair return on the investment of their resources. ‘Thank you. Sincerely, Om (dare Et uls Tom Udall Ron Wyden Welt — fiiecd Ohm ap —_ Vaca ee Hebb — Paz Due (Aaclatite. Ci a ee. We Bag ele