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By Mark Moran - Producer-Editor, Contact - News

 

Big Sky Connection - Montana conservation advocates have hand-delivered a petition with 500 signatures to their congressional delegation in Washington, D.C. They are calling on Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., and House Republicans to reverse course on efforts to block new Bureau of Land Management rules governing oil and gas leases on public lands. Comments from Jocelyn Leroux (luh-ROO), deputy director, Montana Conservation Voters.

Click on the image above for the audio. Many of the rules governing oil and gas operations on Montana public lands had not been updated in a century. (Adobe Stock)

Mark Moran

June 17, 2024 - Montana groups are working to save a new Bureau of Land Management rule about oil and gas leasing on public lands.

They have hand-delivered a petition to members of Congress to block an effort to overturn the new regulation.

The BLM wants to ensure oil and gas companies, rather than taxpayers, cover the costs of cleaning up pollution from current or inactive oil and gas wells. The rules have not been updated in a century.

Jocelyn Leroux, deputy director of the group Montana Conservation Voters, took a delegation of advocates to Washington, D.C., with a petition for Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont., and Rep. Matt Rosendale, R-Mont, who oppose the new BLM rule.

"It was signed by nearly 500 Montanans that are telling them to drop their efforts to overturn this oil and gas rule," Leroux explained.

Sen. Daines has said the new rule would raise costs for doing business in the state, especially for small oil and gas producers.

Daines is attempting to overturn the BLM's oil and gas rule by using what's known as the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to vote directly on overturning an agency decision. The vote would most likely meet with a veto on President Joe Biden's desk if it passes. Leroux emphasized this type of political gamesmanship is not what Montanans want.

"There was a 60-day public comment period for this rule and 99% of comments were in support of the rule," Leroux pointed out. "Sen. Daines likes to say that he is supportive of public processes and wants to listen to his constituents but this just proves again that he's not actually doing that."

The new BLM oil and gas rule is scheduled to take effect June 22.

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