Environmental Groups Seek to Defend Federal Methane Rule

Wyoming, Montana and North Dakota are pressing a federal lawsuit seeking to block rule

By Dillon Tabish

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Environmental groups are seeking to defend a new federal rule that would restrict how oil companies burn off excess natural gas extracted from public lands.

Wyoming, Montana and North Dakota are pressing a federal lawsuit in Wyoming seeking to block a rule that President Barack Obama’s administration issued in November.

The states argue that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management lacks authority over air quality issues and claim the rule would reduce state revenues.

Energy companies frequently “flare,” or burn off, large volumes of natural gas at drilling sites because it makes less money than oil.

Fifteen groups including national environmental organizations are asking a federal judge in Wyoming to allow them to intervene to support the BLM rule. The judge hasn’t ruled yet on the request.

Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.

Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.