The Keep-It-in-the-Ground’s global Break Free 2016 campaign came to Colorado last week and was disruptive. Two protests around Denver coincided with other demonstrations in California, New York, Washington, Europe, South America and Australia. Colorado was a focus because western oil and natural gas production has not only made America competitive in global markets, but elevated our profile among anti-fossil fuel opponents.
BLM’s proposed venting and flaring rule is the administration’s latest regulation targeting oil and natural gas production. BLM’s proposal suffers from wide-ranging problems including jurisdictional overreach into air quality, technologically infeasible requirements, and implementation costs that far exceed the rule’s benefits. Our comments on BLM’s proposal were 90 pages and spoke to the myriad problems, but I want to hone in on a few key numbers that demonstrate the flaws in BLM’s assumptions about the proposed rule’s impact.
Computer models are powerful tools, but as the old saying goes, “garbage in, garbage out” and models of the Social Cost of Methane (SCM) are no exceptions. The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new methane rules rely heavily on the SCM to show a benefit. Now, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is following suit in its venting and flaring rule, with supposed benefits between $115 million and $188 million that are largely based on the SCM.