Rodger Steen: BLM taking step backward | SteamboatToday.com

Rodger Steen: BLM taking step backward

On Feb. 12, our Bureau of Land Management took a significant step backwards by allowing greater waste of the U.S. citizens' petroleum resource.

Secretary Zinke is proposing to cancel the recently enacted requirements on petroleum well producers to collect and pay royalties to the federal treasury for methane and other hydrocarbon gases presently released (wasted) to the atmosphere.

This will seriously weaken efforts to curb waste on our public lands, leading to the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer-owned energy resources every year. As methane is a greenhouse gas, this reversal in rules also will cause greater impacts from more rapid global warming.

During last year's federal rule making there was overwhelming public support for enactment of this common-sense rule, including support from the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate. This is a blatant case of increased profits to the industry at the expense of us citizens.

There will be a public comment period for this proposed reversal in these common-sense rules. We encourage people to submit their comments to the BLM within the next 60 days supporting the previous rule and asking the BLM to protect our publicly owned resources. Responses can be submitted to http://www.regulations.gov.

Rodger Steen

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Oil and Gas Committee chairman, Western Colorado Congress