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Attention: RIN 1004-AE53
Dear Secretary Zinke,
As a member of Physicians for Social Responsibility, I object to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)'s proposal to weaken the Methane and Waste Prevention rule (methane rule).
The methane rule protects human health by reducing emissions of methane, an extremely potent greenhouse gas. We urgently need to reduce greenhouse gases to reduce the trajectory of increasing heat waves, drought, rising sea level and extreme weather, and their resulting grave threats to health, including flooding and water contamination, the spread of vector-borne diseases, wildfires, particulate matter pollution, ozone pollution, and more.
The methane rule also reduces emissions of dangerous volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These include known carcinogens such as benzene and formaldehyde; toluene, associated with mental disabilities and abnormal growth in children, as well as damage to the kidney, liver, and immune and reproductive systems; and xylene, which can affect the nervous system, kidneys, lungs and heart.
VOCs also contribute to ground-level ozone, a pollutant that can cause irreversible damage to the lungs and increase the chance of premature death.
Besides endangering human health, weakening the rule would also waste millions of my taxpayer dollars by allowing totally unnecessary waste of natural gas produced on the nation's federal and tribal lands. The oil and gas industry can readily improve operations to prevent some gas leaks and to recapture gases that do escape. They should be required to do so, as the current rule provides.
For all these reasons, I oppose the Department of the Interior's proposal to "revise" and essentially dismantle the BLM methane waste rule. Please retain the rule in its current form.