Biden admin set to impose another rule on US oil and gas while courting Venezuelan oil

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The Biden administration this week proposed new rules aimed at limiting methane leaks from oil and gas drilling on federal lands. 

The proposal, released Monday by the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management, would put limitations on gas flaring on federal land and require energy companies to detect methane leaks better. 

A flare for burning excess methane, or natural gas, from crude oil production, is seen at a well pad east of New Town, N.D., May 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Matthew Brown / AP Newsroom)

The proposal follows another plan announced by Biden during a global climate conference in Egypt earlier this month. The Nov. 11 proposal targets the oil and gas industry for what the administration says is its role in global warming.

Monday’s proposal would prevent billions of cubic feet of natural gas from being wasted through venting, flaring and leaks, boosting efficiency while at the same time reducing pollution, administration officials said. The rule would impose monthly limits on flaring and charge fees for flaring that exceeds those limits.

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"This proposed rule will bring our regulations in line with technological advances that industry has made in the decades since the BLM's rules were first put in place, while providing a fair return to taxpayers," Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said in a statement.

"No one likes to waste natural resources from our public lands. This draft rule is a common-sense, environmentally responsible solution as we address the damage that wasted natural gas causes. It puts the American taxpayer first and ensures producers pay appropriate royalties,'' BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning said.  

The logo of Chevron is seen at the company’s office in Caracas, Venezuela April 25, 2018. (Reuters/Marco Bello/File Photo / Reuters Photos)

The BLM will accept comments on the proposed rule through early February, with a final rule expected next year. 

President Biden has had a hostile relationship with the oil industry since taking office in January 2021. Despite insisting earlier this month that there is "no more drilling," the president has pressed energy producers for more oil drilling to lower prices at the pump.

Biden has also accused oil companies of "war profiteering" and raised the possibility of imposing a windfall tax on energy companies if they don't boost domestic production.

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This comes as the administration has eased oil sanctions on Venezuela – including allowing oil giant Chevron to expand operations there – in exchange for Venezuela's government and its opposition resuming talks. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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