Press Release

BLM follows in EPA's footsteps, allowing industry to turn a blind eye to harmful methane emissions

Gas flaring in Carlsbad, New Mexico.

Gas flaring in Carlsbad, New Mexico.

Mason Cummings, The Wilderness Society

Decision comes despite Interior finding it will cost Americans $1 billion in wasted natural gas and pollution

Following in the recent steps of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Interior Department and Secretary Ryan Zinke released their final plans to rollback and essentially gut the 2016 Bureau of Land Management (BLM) methane rule.

This rollback will remove protections that mandated the capture of harmful methane emissions from natural gas production on public lands. Yet, at the end of the day, Secretary Zinke chose to side with oil and gas lobbyists in Washington on a rule that even his own agency found will cost Americans $1 billion in wasted natural gas and pollution.

In response, The Wilderness Society issued the following statement from President Jamie Williams:

“By law, our public lands are held in trust, to be managed for the benefit of all Americans - not just an industry who has done little to win anyone’s trust by advocating time and again to repeal a rule that stands to benefit taxpayers and tribes.

“Actions like these continue to show that this Interior Department and Secretary Zinke are not interested in managing and sustaining our public lands for generations to come but are instead focused on satisfying the wish-list of oil and gas developers.”

More methane waste will harm our air and water and have significant public health impacts, especially on those living closest to oil and gas development. We will continue to fight the Trump administration over this decision to roll back vital methane pollution protections.


The Wilderness Society, founded in 1935, is the leading conservation organization working to protect wilderness and inspire Americans to care for our wild places. With more than one million members and supporters, The Wilderness Society has led the effort to permanently protect 109 million acres of wilderness and to ensure sound management of our shared national lands.