Everybody round here is talking methane, it seems — and with good reason. Louisiana’s Department of Natural Resources has proposed a rule that would end the practice of routine venting and flaring of methane.

To understand why this is such a big deal, look no further than this letter we recently sent to Ms. Carrie Wiebelt in LDNR’s Office of Conservation.

Dear Ms. Wiebelt: 

I am the Founder and Chair of the Greater New Orleans Interfaith Climate Coalition. We strive to increase environmental justice and to mitigate climate change. We know that methane has a heat trapping capacity 82.5 times greater than carbon dioxide and, as such, is an exceptionally powerful greenhouse gas which traps the sun’s heat and leaves us sweltering while increasing the power of hurricanes, unleashing  rain bombs, drying out the earth’s vital agricultural lands, destroying our State with sea level rise, and much more. All of the above has a tragic and disproportionate impact on the poor of our State who suffer the worst consequences of climate change. 

Therefore, the GNOICC asks for the immediate adoption of rules to stop the flaring and venting of methane. If we do not act now, we are furthering the destruction of the earth, our home. It is shocking that there are no controls over venting and flaring at oil wells and it is time for this practice to end. To suggest that such rules should be waived due to economic hardship is inappropriate since the owners of oil wells are clearly responsible for protecting us from the damage that they are doing.

Please contract me and tell me what additional actions the GNOICC should take to advance the adoption of rules to stop flaring and venting. We would be delighted to discuss this with you at an upcoming GNOICC General Assembly meeting. 

Thank you for your efforts to protect our earth.

Pastor Gregory Manning
Founder and Chair
Greater New Orleans Interfaith Climate Coalition

Peter Digre
Secretary, GNOICC

In addition to that official letter, I also sent a personal email.

Hey there, Ms. Carrie Wiebelt, LDNR Office of Conservation —

I’m writing to you today as a concerned citizen of this great state. I’m hearing about this new proposed draft rule that would end the practice of routine venting and flaring of methane at oil wells, and I’m all for it! Please consider this my public comment, on the record, and all that good stuff.

Right now, there are virtually no limitations on how much methane can be vented or flared at oil wells. This is a problem because methane is a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. It’s also a waste of a valuable resource.

This new rule would make sure that all methane produced at oil wells is captured and sold. This would reduce greenhouse gas emissions, help the environment, and generate revenue for the state.

I know that some people are worried about this rule because it could lead to job losses in the oil and gas industry. But I think we can find ways to protect jobs while also protecting the environment. For example, we could provide financial assistance to oil and gas companies that transition to cleaner energy sources.

I urge you to adopt this proposed rule as final. It’s a common-sense measure that will benefit everyone in Louisiana.

And hey, if you’re worried about the “economic hardship” exception, don’t be. I’m sure we can work something out. Just give me a call and we’ll hash it out over a plate of gumbo.

Thanks for your time,

Bart Everson

What’s more, I just saw that my old friend Jeannette Thompson has written a guest column for the Times-Picayune | Advocate on this same subject. Jeannette is a neighbor of mine and a member of the Evangelical Environmental Network. She notes that, “as an evangelical Christian, I believe we have a biblical mandate to care for the needy — those most vulnerable and overlooked in society. In the 21st century, that means those who are unfairly and disproportionately burdened by rising temperatures and toxic pollution.” You should really read her whole column as it’s well-written and educational.

Here’s the link:

Guest column: I’m an evangelical Christian who believes Louisiana should do more on methane

GNOICC Wants Methane Burning and Flaring to Stop Now
Tagged on: