Action Alert, Week of March 27, 2017
More Background Information
Text of ELCA Advocacy Action Alert
Stop Congress from Repealing the BLM Methane Rule
“The Earth is the Lord’s, and all that is in it.” Psalm 24:1
As Christians, we are called to be stewards of all creation and not waste the gifts God has given. With strong support from the Christian community, the Department of Interior’s (DOI) Bureau of Land Management (BLM) finalized the Methane and Natural Gas Rule (Methane Rule) in November 2016. This rule reduces methane waste in the atmosphere by requiring that oil and gas operators control methane emissions. We are also called to share the gifts of creation with each other and with future generations. This rule helps our nation to steward these resources in the manner they were intended. It helps to protect creation from climate change harm and it decreases the waste of God’s gift.
The Methane Rule was finalized after extensive consultation with stakeholders, but now Congress is utilizing the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to repeal it. The CRA allows Congress to overturn recently passed rules. This tool is not a good means of governing in most circumstances, and it would be particularly ill advised to use it here.
Why is the Methane Rule important?
Methane is a greenhouse gas that is more potent than carbon dioxide, thereby having a greater effect on climate change in the near term. Methane in the atmosphere leads to significant public health consequences. Additionally, when this rule was released, the DOI said it would “help ensure a fair return for taxpayers, who receive royalties from the sale of oil and gas extracted on federal land, while also helping combat the release of a harmful climate-warming greenhouse gas.” DOI estimated the rule would cut methane emissions by 35 percent. Similar rules were implemented in Colorado in 2014 with great success, particularly from a health and an economic perspective.
In order to repeal the rule, CRA action is required in both the House and the Senate, and then the President must give approval. Here is where we are now: The House has already voted to repeal the rule and the Senate is likely to hold its vote within the next week. The Senate must be urged to vote no on the BLM Methane CRA Resolution. This rule safeguards human health and protects God’s creation. It reduces waste of a precious gift of God.
Please take action on the new BLM methane rules! Share this message and urge your friends and community leaders to reach out to Congress!
Dear [Decision Maker],
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If you are a rostered leader, please personalize your message to Congress to indicate your leadership role in the ELCA. (ex: “As a Lutheran pastor and as your constituent…”)
Dear [Decision Maker],
As your constituent and as a Christian, I am deeply concerned about the conserving the gifts of God’s creation. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) passed a regulation in November 2016 that significantly reduces the emissions of methane into the atmosphere from oil and gas operations–the Methane Rule. I understand the Senate is slated to look at this rule under a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to repeal it. This does not make sense.
This Methane Rule protects us from wasting natural gas. It also protects creation, which we are called by God to steward. This rule ensures oil and gas operations capture and sell large amounts methane. This results in big savings to the oil and gas industry; it increases the royalties to taxpayers; and it protects public health. A similar rule to this was passed in Colorado earlier with great success, so there is a track record for this type of initiative.
As Americans and as people of faith, we must use our best judgement here. This rule makes sense economically and from a health perspective. Our children need to see us working with their interests on the forefront of our actions. What this rule does is important for their financial future, and for our earth.
Please do not undermine this BLM rule through the Congressional Review Act or CRA. I sincerely urge you to vote no on the Senate CRA Resolution to repeal the Methane Rule. Thank you for your time and consideration to this extremely important matter.
[City, State ZIP]