Avoiding waste is common sense. But the Bureau of Land Management is happy to make an exception for waste when it comes to the oil and gas industry drilling on public lands.

There is currently a rule that curbs methane waste on public lands. Flaring and leaks must be monitored to prevent wasted resources and pointless pollution. But the BLM is now trying to delay these protections for a year. Why? Because corporate interests are more important to them than what the American people really want, like clean air and livable communities.

Five years ago, a family member of mine started work in Williston, North Dakota, as a natural gas technician. He was a recent grad, eager to join the professional world. After several months on the job, there was one thing that didn’t sit well with him: the insane amount of energy wasted through flaring. Even after considerable time in the industry, he still sees it as a problem.

This problem has a solution. Montana must hold the BLM to a standard that protects our health and prevents the thoughtless waste of our tax dollars. If the BLM allows this methane waste without any consequences, taxpayers could lose out on as much as $800 million in lost royalties over the next decade.

The BLM is taking comments on its proposal to delay the protections on methane waste prevention until Nov. 6. Join me today in commenting against this proposal.

Makenna Sellers