On January 9, 2020, conservation groups filed a second phase of litigation in the DC District Court challenging the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) issuance of over 2,000 oil and gas leases across five western states citing climate change concerns. The groups are requesting that the court, among other things, vacate all 2,000 leases and

Consistent with President Obama’s “Climate Action Plan,” the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) recently released proposed rules intended to significantly curb emissions from new and existing oil and gas production wells on federal and tribal lands. In total, BLM proposes to cut natural gas emissions (from both intentional and unintentional releases) associated with oil and gas wells on all federal public lands by 50%. This will be accomplished through modernizing the current regulations (which are over 30 years old) by requiring operators to adopt best practices and updated technologies.
Continue Reading BLM Proposes Sweeping Rules to Curb Methane Emissions

The President and several states recently proposed measures to reduce methane emissions associated with oil and gas facilities, particularly from drilling activities.  After CO2, methane is thought to be the most common greenhouse gas (estimated at 8.7% of emissions for 2012 as compared to 82.5% for CO2).  Methane degrades more quickly than CO2, but it has a more significant effect on the atmospheric ozone layer before degrading.  The primary source of methane is from natural sources, followed by agriculture.  Human activity is estimated to contribute over 60% of methane emissions globally, and of that approximately 29% from oil and gas operations (6% oil; 23% natural gas).  Methane leaks and releases may occur throughout the oil and natural gas supply chain and can be mitigated through the implementation of control technologies and leak detection monitoring.  While EPA promulgated new source performance standards (NSPS) in 2012 to limit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) associated with natural gas wells and production facilities, the President’s new plan and new state regulations go further in specifically target methane emissions from a broader range of emission sources in the oil and natural gas sectors.
Continue Reading Whitehouse and States Target Oil and Gas Methane Emissions