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Brief on the Bureau of Land Management’s Waste Prevention Rule

Our amicus brief to the United States District Court for the District of Wyoming defends the 2016 Bureau of Land Management’s “Waste Prevention Rule,” which is designed to limit methane waste from oil and gas production on public lands. In our brief, we show that the rule reasonably complied with BLM’s statutory duty to set waste-prevention rules that focus on private benefits to industry as well as on the health and environmental benefits of protecting natural public resources and the environment. We also argue that BLM’s approach to evaluating those health and environmental benefits of reducing methane emissions through the use of the Social Cost of Methane was reasonable and appropriate. The Social Cost of Methane is the best available metric for measuring damages from methane emissions. And it allowed BLM to set restrictions based on the global estimate of damages from methane emissions, which best advances U.S. interests and is consistent with BLM’s statutory mandate. We previously filed comments on the proposed Waste Prevention Rule, including on the use of the Social Cost of Methane to monetize the rule’s benefits. Separately, we filed a brief supporting a challenge to BLM’s first attempt to stay of the Waste Prevention rule, which was struck down in court. We also filed comments on BLM’s second attempt to stay the rule, which is currently being challenged.