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Last week, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke released the rewrite of the Bureau of Land Management’s Methane and Waste Prevention Rule. The rewrite prioritizes corporate profits over people, and threatens our communities’ pocketbooks and health. Prior to Zinke’s revision, the BLM’s Methane and Waste Prevention Rule required oil and gas companies to capture leaked gases, update their equipment, and minimize waste when drilling on public lands or for public minerals. It also set consistent standards for these practices across state lines. The revised rule eliminates those common-sense measures, and relies instead on states enacting their own standards. States such as Montana with lax standards will continue to attract oil and gas companies that don’t have the resources or desire to control methane emissions. Our health and communities will suffer the consequences.

The protections that Zinke is gutting were crafted over five years with four hearings and thousands of written comments in their favor. Seventy-seven percent of Montanans support the type of development these protections ensure (Colorado College poll released in January 2018). Instead, our shared natural resources can continue to be wasted costing taxpayers millions in lost revenue and threatening Montanans health and quality of life.

No hearings and only 60 days of public comment are being allowed for the new rules. A BLM hearing in a Western state is needed. Join me in urging Zinke to hold a hearing in the West by calling the DOI at 202-208-3100, or submitting a comment online at

Susann Beug

Red Lodge