In this ruling, the three judge panel dismissed appeals of a judicial order that had stayed all of the waste-preventing measures of the 2016 Methane Waste Prevention Rule, and vacated that stay. As a result, the Methane Waste Prevention rule – which requires companies drilling for oil and natural gas on federal land to reduce the waste of that gas, which is mostly methane – has sprung back to life.
But why does that matter if BLM has already finalized a Rescission Rule that removes the provisions of the Methane Waste Prevention Rule?
CATF, on behalf of National Wildlife Federation, and other co-litigants are also in court challenging the Rescission Rule. If we are ultimately successful, today’s 10th Circuit judgment means that the original Methane Waste Prevention Rule will immediately become effective and industry will again be required to take urgently needed steps to reduce methane-containing waste from oil and gas operations on public land.
The litigation road is long and winding, however, and the industry and state challenges to the Waste Prevention Rule are still alive for now in the Wyoming federal District Court.
But for now, we have good news — the Waste Prevention Rule is still in the wings, and ready to demand less waste and less climate pollution coming from private actions on public lands.