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Natural Resources & Energy

New Study Says Wyoming Wasted $76M In Natural Gas

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Willow Belden
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According to a new study from the Environmental Defense Fund, in 2013, Wyoming burned, vented and leaked $76 million worth of natural gas from federal and tribal lands.

“That’s a big waste of what could be going into federal and tribal royalty coffers,” said EDF spokesman Jon Goldstein, pointing out that the money also ends up with states and local communities through royalty sharing.

Independent consulting firm ICF International conducted the study. They used a combination of reported and estimated gas loss to come up with their figures. For Wyoming, they calculated 25 billion cubic feet of gas were wasted, the second highest amount in the nation, after New Mexico. Both states produce most of their oil and gas from federal and tribal lands.

Methane, the main component of unburned natural gas, contributes to global warming and smog.

“So going after and trying to fix these leaks would help with that problem as well,” said Goldstein.

Since 2013, Colorado, North Dakota and Wyoming have put some rules in place to reduce natural gas waste, including regulations to control methane emissions and reduce flaring.

The Bureau of Land Management is expected to release rules this summer to curb emissions of methane on federal lands.

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