Today, 46 religious organizations released a letter urging Congress to preserve the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Natural Gas Waste Prevention Rule. The letter arrived on the day the U.S. House of Representatives voted 121-191 to gut the Rule using the power of the Congressional Review Act.
The letter, signed by religious organizations with diverse theological and political views included denominations, councils of churches, and nonprofits. It called on Members of Congress to “uphold the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Methane and Natural Gas Waste Rule, a rule that not only curbs methane waste on public lands but safeguards human health and protects God’s creation.” The letter states, “Currently, more than $330 million worth of natural gas is wasted on public and tribal lands each year. This is not good stewardship of the resources God has provided.”
Shantha Ready Alonso, Executive Director of Creation Justice Ministries, said of the House vote “I am deeply saddened that a majority of U.S. Representatives made this reckless choice that wastes taxpayer dollars and allows natural gas -- a finite energy source – to disappear into thin air. We who value responsible energy stewardship will look to the Senate for better leadership.”
Religious communities participated in stakeholder processes since the Rule’s introduction with support statements, various sign-on letters, decision-maker meetings, and a letter to trade associations. Religious organizations also expressed gratitude when the rule was released. On the Wednesday before the House vote, religious leaders traveled from Arizona, Nevada, South Carolina, and Tennessee for a faith advocacy day for energy stewardship.
Creation Justice Ministries represents the creation care policies of 38 Christian communions, including Baptists, mainline Protestants, Historically Black Churches, Peace Churches, and Orthodox communions. Learn more at www.creationjustice.org
FULL TEXT OF THE LETTER
February 3, 2017
Dear Member of Congress:
We are religious organizations of diverse theological and political backgrounds. We are united by our shared commitment to responsible environmental stewardship and protection of the common good.
We write to urge you to uphold the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Methane and Natural Gas Waste Rule, a rule that not only curbs methane waste on public lands but safeguards human health and protects God’s creation. We urge you to vote no on the BLM Methane CRA Resolution.
The BLM rule is a common-sense policy that requires the oil and gas industry to reduce venting, flaring, and leaks at industry operations on public and tribal lands by deploying available technology. Currently, more than $330 million worth of natural gas is wasted on public and tribal lands each year. This is not good stewardship of the resources God has provided.
Oil and gas sources also emit other dangerous pollutants that harm Americans’ health, such as smog-forming volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and cancer-causing toxics like benzene. Wasteful practices only increase this pollution. Repealing this rule would harm public health and reduce revenue to the federal government and Western states.
We request that you vote in opposition to this egregious attack on commonsense standards which protect the God’s creation and the common good. Vote no on the BLM Methane’s CRA Resolution.
Arizona Interfaith Power & Light
California Interfaith Power & Light
Climate Action Network, Central Pacific Conference, United Church of Christ
Colorado Council of Churches
Delaware Interfaith Power & Light
Delaware Ecumenical Council for Children and Families
Disciples Center for Public Witness, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Earth Justice Ministries in Nevada City, California
Earth Ministry/Washington Interfaith Power & Light
Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon
Episcopal Church in Navajo Land
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Florida Council of Churches
Franciscan Action Network
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Iowa Interfaith Power & Light
Interfaith Climate Group of Gainesville, Florida
Interfaith Power & Light
Jewish Climate Action Network
Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States
Kentucky Interfaith Power & Light
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
Massachusetts Interfaith Power & Light
Michigan Interfaith Power & Light
Mormon Environmental Stewardship Alliance
New Mexico Interfaith Power & Light
North Carolina Council of Churches
North Carolina Interfaith Power & Light
Catholic Diocese of Gallup, NM, Office of Life, Justice, Peace and Creation Stewardship
Oregon Interfaith Power & Light
Pennsylvania Council of Churches
Interfaith Power & Light
Por La Creación
Presbyterian Church U.S.A.
Rhode Island Interfaith Power & Light
Southwest Conference of the United Church of Christ
The United Methodist Church - General Board of Church and Society
United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries
Voices for Earth Justice of Southfield, MI
West Virginia Interfaith Power & Light
Wisconsin Council of Churches
Wisconsin Interfaith Power & Light
Wyoming Association of Churches
Christian faith leaders traveled to Capitol Hill today to urge their US Senators and Representatives to defend the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Natural Gas Waste Reduction Rule.
The BLM rule requires oil and gas operations on public and tribal lands to plug methane leaks. Each year, millions of dollars’ worth of methane, the primary ingredient in natural gas, is wasted. The rule underwent significant stakeholder engagement processes, and religious communities participated with support statements and sign-on letters to decision-makers and trade associations. These letters noted that taxpayers lose out on more than $330 million worth of methane each year as a result of wasteful leaking, venting, and flaring from oil and gas operations on federal and tribal land. These religious organizations also expressed gratitude when the rule was released.
Deacon Mike Margerum of Sparks, Nevada condemned the possibility of the BLM rule being rolled back through the Congressional Review Act: “In an ideologically-driven effort to end all regulations, this common-sense rule is in danger of being undermined.”
Sarah King of the Arizona Faith Network visited with Senator Flake, staff of Senator McCain, and Rep. O’Halleran. She said of the BLM rule, “This rule will have a positive economic impact on Western communities, and particularly our Navajo brothers and sisters. To get rid of it would be foolish, and poor stewardship.”
President of the Baptist Educational and Missionary Convention of South Carolina Rev. Dr. James Blassingame visited with staff from Senator Graham and Senator Scott’s offices and addressed a forum of the House Democrats on the Natural Resources Committee. His moral message was: “Our most basic Christian call, starting in the book of Genesis, is to till and keep the Earth. This means we must responsibly steward Earth’s resources as well as the wealth they generate. We have a moral call to prevent waste and fairly share the gifts of God’s creation.”
While the rule is intended to cut waste of natural gas and ensure a fair return for taxpayers, Chrsitian communities are also deeply concerned about the health impacts.
For Rev. Charles Maynard, District Superintendent of Maryville, Tennessee for the United Methodist Church, who met with staff of Senators Corker and Alexander as well as Rep. Duncan and Rep Roe, the connection between air quality and health is a primary concern. “Air doesn’t respect state lines. The whole creation is without boundaries. We have to deal with this nationally, not state by state. People in Tennessee understand this especially impacts the health of our Western brothers and sisters, particularly the most vulnerable.”
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This blog shares the activities of Creation Justice Ministries. We educate and equip Christians to protect, restore, and rightly share God's creation.