Military Leaders Agree: U.S. Should Adopt rules to Stop the Needless Waste of Domestic Resources to Increase Our Energy and Climate Security

Flag officers call on federal agencies to cut energy waste by adopting rules that cut methane venting, flaring, and leaks

Washington, DC – Today, former Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and 12 flag officers released a public letter calling on President Biden to quickly expedite permanent protections to cut energy waste by ending routine venting and flaring, and monitoring of methane – the primary component of natural gas – to strengthen our energy and climate security.

Draft rules under consideration by the Biden administration would address venting, flaring and leaks of methane but stopped short of rules to fully eliminate pollution from routine flaring. 

“Rapidly reducing methane waste is critical to securing our long-term energy and climate security,” said General Steve Anderson. “The Biden Administration has made an important first step with their proposals but the President must act decisively by directing both agencies to put an end to routine flaring and to commit the necessary resources to quickly finalize their methane rules.These rules will put us on a more sustainable energy future, protect our health,  and are a critical step to addressing the climate crisis.

This month marks the one-year anniversary of Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, which has fundamentally altered energy markets. While the U.S. and European allies work toward a just transition away from fossil fuels, U.S. exports will continue to play an important role in the near-term stability of our European allies. By adopting strong rules to address the waste of natural gas from venting, flaring, and leaks, the United States could offset about 26% of the gas Europe historically imported from Russia while saving the U.S. economy an estimated $20 billion in wasted natural gas. 

Plus, climate change, supercharged by methane pollution, also threatens our national security by creating global instability of natural resources, causing significant damage to military infrastructure and readiness, and putting more pressure on the armed services who are the world’s first responders.”

“Acting now to reduce methane waste is essential to addressing climate change and ensuring our nation’s long-term energy security,” added Janessa Goldbeck, CEO of the Vet Voice Foundation. “Eliminating routine venting and flaring and reducing methane leaks will also help us meet our climate targets and protect frontline communities from harmful pollution.”

In November 2022, the U.S. EPA  issued an updated draft rule to cut methane and other harmful pollutants from new and existing oil and gas operations. The updated rule builds on the draft rule released by EPA in 2021, incorporates much of the feedback offered by communities in the past year, and if strengthened to include efforts to end pollution from routine flaring can be an important step towards securing long-term energy security, addressing the climate crisis, and safeguarding public health. 

In November 2022 the Bureau of Land Management issued an updated proposed waste prevention rule. This rule as proposed seeks to limit waste in several ways including by requiring producers on federal and tribal lands to pay royalties on wasted natural gas and develop gas capture plans. However, the draft BLM rule stops short of what leading states including Colorado and New Mexico have accomplished by adopting clear rules that eliminate energy waste from routine venting and flaring.

While both agencies play a unique and respective role in addressing waste and pollution, both rules are vital to strengthening securing the energy and climate security of the United States and our allies and President Biden must take swift action to finalize these protections.