By Valerie Volcovici
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Interior Department finalized rules on Tuesday that would prevent leaks of potent methane emissions from oil and gas production of federal and tribal lands, one of the last major Obama administration rules that aim to address climate change.
The rule from Interior's Bureau of Land Management updates 30-year-old regulations that govern flaring, venting and natural gas leaks from oil and gas production, a move that could avoid wasting up to 41 billion cubic feet (BCF) of natural gas per year, the agency said Tuesday.
“This rule to prevent waste of our nation’s natural gas supplies is good government, plain and simple,” said Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.
“We are proving that we can cut harmful methane emissions that contribute to climate change, while putting in place standards that make good economic sense for the nation."
The Interior Department said in a fact sheet that between 2009 and 2015, oil and gas producers vented, flared and leaked 462 BCF of natural gas on federal and Indian lands, wasting as much as $23 million annually in royalty revenue.
(Reporting By Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)