Hoeven: BLM Methane Rule Will Continue to Burden Energy Production, Economic Growth

WASHINGTON -- Senator John Hoeven today issued the following statement after the Senate failed to pass a resolution to repeal the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) methane rule by a vote of 49-51. Hoeven voted in support of the measure, which fell short by one vote. Vice President Pence would have voted to repeal the rule in the instance of a tie, allowing the legislation to pass and be signed into law.

“BLM’s methane rule imposes unnecessary and unworkable mandates on top of North Dakota’s successful approach to reducing flaring, and it is unfortunate that we were not able to repeal this duplicative and costly regulation,” Hoeven said. “We have shown time and again that a states-led approach to regulation can build a strong economy while also ensuring good environmental stewardship. Under our state’s venting and flaring requirements, we have successfully reduced flaring from over 35 percent to around 10 percent.”

The previous administration finalized the methane rule in November, which imposes duplicative requirements on energy development on federal and Indian lands on top of the air quality standards of the states and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Hoeven cosponsored the Senate companion to the resolution voted on today, which would have rescinded the regulation under the Congressional Review Act (CRA).

Expediting Gas-Gathering Infrastructure

As a member of the Senate Energy and Appropriations Committees, Hoeven has worked to reduce natural gas flaring by addressing the BLM’s backlog of permit applications for gas-gathering infrastructure and pressing for workable, state-led regulations. To this end, the senator helped introducethe bipartisan Natural Gas Gathering Enhancement Act last Congress, which sets deadlines for and expedites the permitting of natural gas gathering lines on federal and Indian land. The delays at BLM prevent the development of needed infrastructure and contribute to unnecessary venting and flaring from oil and gas wells. 

Regulatory Relief 

Hoeven continues working to reduce the regulatory burden for businesses and empower the nation’s energy production, including:

  • Stopping the Waters of the U.S. Rule, which has impacted small businesses from farmers and ranchers to the construction industry and energy sector. Hoeven worked through the Appropriations Committee to defund the overly burdensome regulation in 2016 and 2017. In February, the president signed an executive order directing the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to rescind or revise the rule.
  • Begin rolling back burdensome regulations hampering domestic energy production, including the EPA’s costly rules for new and existing coal generating power plants, the BLM hydraulic fracturing rule for federal lands, BLM’s methane rule and the moratorium on federal coal leasing. Hoeven joined the president and Interior secretary to implement executive orders to stop the overly burdensome regulations.
  • Repealing the BLM “Planning 2.0” rule under the Congressional Review Act (CRA). By repealing the rule, Congress maintained multiple-use requirements for federal lands, such as grazing and energy development, and ensured that resource management planning continues to be led by local BLM field offices in coordination with state, tribal and local governments.
  • Helping introduce the Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act. This legislation would require that, during the rulemaking process, federal agencies would have to analyze the full impact of proposed regulations on small businesses.