Faith Leaders Letter to Mr. Ryan Zinke, Secretary Department of the Interior

Please use this as a template to contact Mr. Ryan Zinke, Secretary Department of the Interior, to oppose suspending or weakening the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) methane waste prevention rule to limit natural gas waste from oil and gas industry operating on our public lands.

 

January 2018

Mr. Ryan Zinke, Secretary

Department of the Interior

1849 C Street, N.W.

Washington DC 20240

Dear Secretary Zinke,

Religious leaders of many faith traditions across the United States oppose suspending or weakening the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) methane waste prevention rule to limit natural gas waste from oil and gas industry operating on our public lands.

As people of faith we are guided by ethical and moral principles of our religious traditions. We are obligated through our sacred writings, documents and teachings to: care for Creation, care for our communities, especially those most vulnerable among us, work to have a future that protects land, air and water for the children and posterity, act as good stewards of the resources we have been given and not waste them and live sustainably in order to address climate change.

The recent methane rule to reduce venting, leaking and flaring of methane addresses some of the ethical and moral concerns we hold, and for which many of us and our members commented upon in the lengthy process leading up to their adoption. The BLM held no fewer than eight public hearings and listening sessions during the development the methane waste rule. During this time, they received more than 330,000 comments, the overwhelming majority of which support strong action now to cut methane waste.

As people of faith, we have a moral obligation to care for our land, water and air and to protect the health of our communities, and especially the children and future generations. This rule will keep an estimated 175,000 tons of methane emissions a year out of our air. The rule helps clean our air by preventing leaks from pollutants and volatile organic compounds like benzene, toluene, and xylene and prevents health problems like asthma that affect our children and the elderly. The gas wasted on federal and tribal lands covered by this rule is worth $330 million annually, much of which goes to taxpayers as royalties, to be spent in local communities to fund schools and local services that make our communities stronger.

In addition, this rule does not eliminate jobs, but allows for the creation of cutting-edge technologies and field jobs that work to reduce waste and increase income. A number of oil and gas companies have already implemented such practices because it is economically prudent and a measure of ethical business practice and good stewardship.

An Old Testament scripture states that before us has been set choices for life and death, “Choose life that you and your children might live.” We appeal to you as an ethical leader to choose life by implementing the BLM methane rules as proposed and affirmed by thousands of people of faith.

In faith,