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Groups sue over rollback of protections against methane waste on public lands

SAN FRANCISCO – A coalition of conservation and tribal citizen groups, including Fort Berthold Protectors of Water and Earth Rights, on Tuesday filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California challenging the Trump Administration’s suspension of the Bureau of Land Management’s Waste Prevention Rule and seeking to have these protections put back in place.

The rule requires companies drilling on public and tribal lands to use commonsense, proven measures to reduce natural gas that is leaked, vented or flared.

“Secretary (Ryan) Zinke rushed this attempt to suspend the BLM’s waste prevention rule without giving tribal members a meaningful opportunity to comment,” said Lisa DeVille, president of the Fort Berthold Protectors of Water and Earth Rights (POWER). “We spent years working with BLM to finalize this rule to reduce wasteful gas flares. What this suspension means is more flaring and degraded air quality on Fort Berthold. Secretary Zinke needs to start listening more to the people, rather than the oil and gas industry.”

Earthjustice represents several of the conservation and tribal citizen groups that filed the lawsuit challenging BLM’s illegal suspension of the rule: Sierra Club, Fort Berthold Protectors of Water and Earth Rights, The Wilderness Society, Western Organization of Resource Councils and Natural Resources Defense Council.

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