Western states value the economic potential inherent in capturing methane that otherwise would be vented into the atmosphere during oil and natural gas production, the Western Governors’ Association (WGA) said in a resolution passed Saturday during a winter WGA meeting in Las Vegas, NV.

While saying that many western state economies depend on oil/gas production, WGA’s policy statement recognized that there are both economic and environmental benefits from working to reduce methane emissions as the Obama administration outlined earlier this year (see Daily GPI, March 28).

WGA calls for programs that allow states to create their own methane-reduction efforts aimed at their own unique needs, industries and economies. “In any forthcoming federal methane regulation, the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and other agencies should ensure that the capture, commoditization, and sale of methane are promoted,” the resolution said.

WGA calls on “cooperative federalism for methane regulation,” saying new federal rules need to make room for state authority to play a part.

“In determining federal methane emission reduction rules to promulgate, federal agencies should consult with states early in the rulemaking process, and should take into account state views, opinions, and economic needs,” the WGA resolution said.

WGA calls for more clarity regarding EPA’s methods of measuring methane emission amounts, and for federal rules to provide flexibility for the states to determine what emissions-reduction methods are used.

WGA has charged it staff to work more closely on the issue with EPA, BLM and other federal agencies. It also directed WGA staff to develop detailed work plans to advance the policies and goals inherent in the new resolution on methane emissions.

“Work plans shall be presented to, and approved by, WGA prior to implementation,” the resolution said.