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VA law prevents utility shutoffs in extreme circumstances; MI construction industry responds to a high number of worker suicides; 500,000 still without power or water in the Houston area; KY experts: Children, and babies at higher risk for heat illness.

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The House passes the SAVE Act, but fails to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in inherent contempt of Congress, and a proposed federal budget could doom much-needed public services.

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Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

MT groups fight to preserve new BLM oil and gas rule

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Monday, June 17, 2024   

Montana groups are working to save a new Bureau of Land Management rule about oil and gas leasing on public lands.

They have hand-delivered a petition to members of Congress to block an effort to overturn the new regulation.

The BLM wants to ensure oil and gas companies, rather than taxpayers, cover the costs of cleaning up pollution from current or inactive oil and gas wells. The rules have not been updated in a century.

Jocelyn Leroux, deputy director of the group Montana Conservation Voters, took a delegation of advocates to Washington, D.C., with a petition for Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont., and Rep. Matt Rosendale, R-Mont, who oppose the new BLM rule.

"It was signed by nearly 500 Montanans that are telling them to drop their efforts to overturn this oil and gas rule," Leroux explained.

Sen. Daines has said the new rule would raise costs for doing business in the state, especially for small oil and gas producers.

Daines is attempting to overturn the BLM's oil and gas rule by using what's known as the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to vote directly on overturning an agency decision. The vote would most likely meet with a veto on President Joe Biden's desk if it passes. Leroux emphasized this type of political gamesmanship is not what Montanans want.

"There was a 60-day public comment period for this rule and 99% of comments were in support of the rule," Leroux pointed out. "Sen. Daines likes to say that he is supportive of public processes and wants to listen to his constituents but this just proves again that he's not actually doing that."

The new BLM oil and gas rule is scheduled to take effect June 22.

Disclosure: The Montana Conservation Voters and Education Fund contributes to our fund for reporting on the Environment. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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