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Comments on Delay of BLM Waste Prevention Rule

In September 2017, a federal court overturned the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) decision to delay a rule that is designed to prevent private industry from wasting natural gas resources in mining activities on public land. In its decision to delay the rule, BLM had not considered the benefits that would be forgone. Now, BLM has proposed a second delay. Our comments to BLM argue that the agency manipulated the calculation of forgone benefits from delay—particularly, the calculation of the social cost of methane—in ways that are completely inconsistent with the best available science, the best practices for economic analysis, and the legal standards governing rational decisionmaking. The 2016 Waste Prevention Rule’s benefits exceed its costs by as much as $200 million per year, and thus the proposal to suspend the rule is arbitrary and capricious.

We filed these joint comments with the Environmental Defense Fund, the Natural Resources Defense Counsel, the Sierra Club, and the Union of Concerned Scientists.