Waste Prevention Rule

The Bureau of Land Management is reducing waste of natural gas from venting, flaring, and leaks during oil and gas production on federal and Tribal lands.

BLM finalized the Waste Prevention, Production Subject to Royalties, and Resource Conservation Rule—also known as the Waste Prevention Rule—in April 2024, combining and building on years of technological advances and best management practices.

The rule is expected to generate more than $50 million in additional natural gas royalty payments each year and conserve billions of cubic feet of gas that might have otherwise been vented, flared, or leaked from operators. This conserved gas will be available to power American homes and industries.

Modern existing oil and gas production rules

The rule updates previous regulations that were more than 40 years old and did not properly address the increasingly fast development in the oil and gas industry. The older rule was not designed to take into account new discoveries, new technologies, and the increased pace of production.

The new version requires operators of oil and gas leases to take reasonable steps to avoid natural gas waste, as well as develop leak detection, repair and waste minimization plans. When natural gas loss could have been avoidable, the rule ensures public and Tribal mineral owners are properly compensated through royalty payments.

Effective date

The final Waste Prevention Rule goes into effect 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. BLM is phasing in the new requirements to allow operators ample time to appropriately adjust. For example, some flaring limits will go into effect roughly 60 days after the effective date of the rule. Some flare measurements will be required either six, 12 or 18 months after the effective date of the rule. Operators will have 18 months to submit leak detection and repair plans to BLM state offices.