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Report: Public Comments Mostly Negative On Methane Rule Rollback

Bureau of Land Management
Bureau of Land Management

The U.S. Interior Department wants to repeal an Obama-era rule that reduces the burning of methane gas on federal lands. The public comment period on that plan ended April 23, 2018 and it looks like almost everybody thought it was a bad idea.

Respondents said repealing the rule would damage the climate and cause more pollution.

“Methane is a very bad greenhouse gas,” said Aaron Weiss, spokesperson for the conservation group Center For Western Priorities.

They analyzed a couple thousand responses to the Interior Department’s plan allowing companies to burn methane when they drill for oil and gas.

Weiss said most of the comments were against that plan, but they also had nearly identical phrasing.

That’s because several conservation groups handed out online templates for the public to use.

All you had to do was fill out your name, address and click a button.

Weiss said that doesn’t weaken their argument.

“The fact that they took the time to submit those comments is a sign that they care about this issue enough,” he said.

The Independent Petroleum Association of America supports the rollback. In a statement when the Obama rule was first suspended, the association said the rollback safeguards American jobs and ensures economic growth.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, Yellowstone Public Radio in Montana, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.