Column: Urge senators to vote "yes" to repeal flaring and venting rules
New rules from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) should concern North Dakotans for the future our jobs, the state's economy and our country's energy security. Too often, a one-size-fits-all approach is taken when policies and laws are put in place.
New rules from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) should concern North Dakotans for the future our jobs, the state's economy and our country's energy security. Too often, a one-size-fits-all approach is taken when policies and laws are put in place. The BLM has taken this approach in regard to methane venting and flaring on a national level, and it does not address more specific cases on a state level.
I am a petroleum engineering student at the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, and I first want to state that I very much support the capture of natural gas. But, this new proposal by the BLM will do more harm to the economy of North Dakota and the United States than good. Not only that, but the new proposal fails to recognize the strides that industry has already made in the capture of natural gas.
The new rules apply to any drilling and spacing unit with federal leases and federal minerals. According to the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources, 30 percent of all spacing units in North Dakota have federal leases or minerals. So this would affect thousands of mineral owners in the state by decreasing the estimated production over the first three years by almost eight million barrels annually. This, in turn, decreases industry workforce that would no longer be needed and also decreases the royalty revenue to private mineral owners. Fewer jobs and smaller payouts decreases tax revenue for the state. And then the state has less money to support local infrastructure.
This new regulation by the BLM is federal overreach, and it fails to take into account all of the facts by making generalized assumptions about how methane capture should be conducted across the entire country. The regulation was put in place to reduce emissions and increase royalties, however, it will not have that effect in North Dakota. It would have minimal effect on reducing emissions and would decrease royalties in North Dakota instead of increasing them. In short, the BLM regulations on flaring and venting would cause detrimental harm to the economy in North Dakota and could in turn cause the United States to once again rely on oil imports.
For these reasons, I want to implore Sen. Heidi Heitkamp and Sen. John Hoeven to vote "yes" on the Congressional Review Act resolution to repeal the BLM Flaring and Venting Rules.
Zebro is a petroleum engineering major at the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks.