Faith Leaders Thank the Bureau of Land Management for Methane Waste Standard

creation-justice-ministriesNovember 30, 2016

Contact: Shantha Ready Alonso, 760.408.0688 (mobile) shantha@creationjustice.org

Cutting Methane Waste on Public Lands Means More Abundance for All

Today, 25 faith leaders sent a thank-you letter to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for their recently released Methane Waste Standard, officially called the “Waste Prevention, Production Subject to Royalties, and Resource Conservation Rule.” The Methane Waste Standard will require oil and gas operations on BLM and tribal lands to detect and plug methane leaks, as well as cut the practice of venting and flaring excess methane.

Signers included national religious leaders as well as leaders of the West and Southwest, including the Directors of the Wyoming Association of Churches, Colorado Council of Churches, and New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light – all organizations that have been extremely active on the issue.

The letter lifts up faith communities’ shared faith principle of stewardship: “As people of faith, we believe in good stewardship of all the gifts of God’s creation. We consider it part of practicing our faith to counteract wasteful attitudes and behaviors, which Pope Francis call ‘throwaway culture’.”

Since the Bureau of Land Management first announced their effort to cut methane waste, religious communities have championed the cause. Religious leaders highlighted in their letter their collective reaction to learning about the issue: “As our communities learned of the methane waste problem, we found it shocking how much leaked, vented, and flared natural gas is lost from oil and gas operations.” Annually, oil and gas operations in the United States waste enough methane to power the entire state of Wyoming for a year.

When methane leaks from oil and gas operations on public land, a useful gift of God’s creation instead becomes a burden to communities. The religious leaders spoke of this burden in their letter: “Many states count on revenue from these operations to fund projects that care for the common good, including schools and roads. Yet, oil and gas companies allow methane, a finite gift of God’s creation, to waft into the air. This not only pollutes our air, but it also endangers our health and harms our climate. It also sends millions of dollars in potential earnings for the companies and tax revenue for our communities up in smoke.”

As the Methane Waste Rule proceeds from finalization to implementation, religious leaders will continue to monitor its effectiveness, and continue to advocate for cutting methane waste.


Full text of the letter below.

Creation Justice Ministries represents the creation care policies of 38 Christian communions, including Baptists, mainline Protestants, Historically Black Churches, Peace Churches, and Orthodox communions. Learn more at www.creationjustice.org

Sister Joan Brown, osf, the Executive Director of New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light, commented, “People of faith in New Mexico are grateful for the new BLM methane rules addressing pollution and waste. This is an important step in reducing the large methane cloud in our Four Corners region that will protect the health of those who are most vulnerable. Our schools and the children will benefit from more funds into our state budget from royalties. New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light is grateful for the leadership of this rule that cares for God’s creation and our communities.”


President Obama

The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20500

Secretary Sally Jewell, Department of the Interior, 1849 C St. NW, Washington, DC 20240

November 30, 2016

Dear President Obama and Secretary Jewell:

Thank you for your Administration’s new Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Methane Waste Standard.

As people of faith, we believe in good stewardship of all the gifts of God’s creation. We consider it part of practicing our faith to counteract wasteful attitudes and behaviors, which Pope Francis call “throwaway culture.”

As our communities learned of the methane waste problem, we found it shocking how much leaked, vented, and flared natural gas is lost from oil and gas operations. Many states count on revenue from these operations to fund projects that care for the common good, including schools and roads. Yet, oil and gas companies allow methane, a finite gift of God’s creation, to waft into the air. This not only pollutes our air, but it also endangers our health and harms our climate. It also sends millions of dollars in potential earnings for the companies and tax revenue for our communities up in smoke.

For our communities’ health, the wellbeing of our climate, companies’ bottom line, and states’ budgetary sustainability, the new BLM Methane Waste Standard is an excellent step in the right direction.

With Gratitude,

WESTERN LEADERS

Adrian Miller, Executive Director, Colorado Council of Churches, Denver, CO

Chesie Lee, Executive Director, Wyoming Association of Churches, Riverton, WY

Rev. Kay Huggins, Interim Director, New Mexico Conference of Churches, Albuquerque, NM

Sr. Joan Brown, osf, Executive Director, New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light, Albuquerque, NM

Rt. Rev. Bishop Bailey, Bishop of Episcopal Church of Navajoland New Mexico, Arizona and Utah

Sr. Rose Marie Cecchini, mm, Office of Life, Justice, Peace and Creation Stewardship, Gallup, NM

Rev. Peter Sawtell, Director Eco-Justice Ministries Denver, CO

Ty Markham, Chair, Mormon Environmental Stewardship Alliance, Torrey, UT

Genny Rowley, President, Utah Interfaith Power & Light, Salt Lake City, UT

Rev. Doug Bland, Executive Director, Arizona Interfaith Power & Light

Rabbi Harry Rosenfeld, Congregation Albert, Albuquerque, NM

Rabbi Neil Amsych, Temple Beth Shalom, Santa Fe, NM

Tina Yankee, President, Colorado Interfaith Power and Light, Marie Venner, Denver Catholic Network, Denver, CO

Linda Sosa, Community Organizer, Por La Creación: Faith Based Alliance, Denver, CO

Dr. Richard Mansfield, Pastor, New Beginnings Church, Albuquerque, NM

Daniel Barajas, President, Ministerios Aposento Alto, Phoenix, AZ

Miguel Angel Perez, Pastor, Monte de Sion Community Church, Albuquerque, NM

NATIONAL LEADERS

Shantha Ready Alonso, Executive Director, Creation Justice Ministries, Washington, DC

Susan Stephenson, Executive Director, Interfaith Power and Light, San Francisco, CA

Patrick Carolan, Executive Director, Franciscan Action Network, Washington, DC

Rev. Carol Devine, Minister for Green Chalice, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Nicholasville, KY

Kyle Meyaard-Schapp, National Organizer and Spokesperson, Young Evangelicals for Climate Action, Ann Arbor, MI

Gerry Lee, Director, Maryknoll Office of Global Concerns, Washington, DC

CC:

Dan Utech, Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change

Neil Kornze, Director

Bureau of Land Management

Christy Goldfuss, Director

Council on Environmental Quality