“In its haste, BLM ignored its statutory mandate under the Mineral Leasing Act” — Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers #ActOnClimate #KeepItInTheGround

Natural gas flares near a community in Colorado. Colorado health officials and some legislators agree that better monitoring is necessary. Photo credit the Environmental Defense Fund.

From The Hill (Rachel Frazin):

A federal court late Wednesday struck down a Trump administration rule that weakened restrictions on methane gas releases from drilling on public land, restoring an Obama-era rule.

In 2018, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) rolled back parts of the prior rule that limited the release of the greenhouse gas. The change was expected to allow for more methane leaks in a process called flaring and add to air pollution.

On Wednesday, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers determined that the rulemaking process used by the BLM was “wholly inadequate.”

“In its haste, BLM ignored its statutory mandate under the Mineral Leasing Act, repeatedly failed to justify numerous reversals in policy positions previously taken, and failed to consider scientific findings and institutions relied upon by both prior Republican and Democratic administrations,” wrote the Obama appointee.

“In its zeal, BLM simply engineered a process to ensure a preordained conclusion,” she added in the decision’s conclusion. “Where a court has found such widespread violations, the court must fulfill its duties in striking the defectively promulgated rule.”

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