Today I naively attended a BLM public hearing on its “proposed” new venting and flaring rules for oil and gas producers. I assumed the agency was there to hear a balanced input from the community. What happened was an orchestrated and colluded three ring circus between the BLM and every liberal, socialist environmentalist freak show they could attract from Durango, Santa Fe and Albuquerque. They played tricks with moving rooms to weed out some of the pro-production crowd, and then they stacked the speakers list with the wacko crowd for so long that very few could stay into the evening hours to continue listening and being heard. It was infuriating to watch mid-level Washington D.C. functionaries playing this charade in their march to impose another round of government anti-carbon job-destroying overreach on us.
“Abolish the BLM,” is my new mantra. Good hardworking American workers have no chance in the arenas of these rigged government “hearings.” The only way we can win is by winning the battle at the ballot boxes and in public opinion by getting the truth out there. So, here is the statement that I was prepared to make but was unable to because of the way they drag these things out. I submitted it to the BLM in writing and I will seek to get it out there. Feel free to share it you like it.
Statement to BLM Hearing on Natural Gas Flaring Restrictions
February 16, 2016
My name is Rev. Dr. John Morgan. I am the senior pastor of Pinon Hills Community Church here in Farmington, New Mexico. We have a constituency of 2,500 members and attenders and a broader coalition of many like-minded evangelical churches in the Four Corners and around the country. My areas of study have been Theology, Philosophy, Political Economy and Leadership. I’d like to express my views in three major points.
#1. From a Christian theology point of view, we have to balance three things: God created us to create and produce things that make life better (Genesis 1:27), we are supposed to be good stewards of the environment (Genesis 1:28) and all productive work creates some messes. Proverbs 14:4 says, “Where there are no oxen, the stall is clean.” In other words all productive work creates some messes. So the question is whether the good we gain from the productive work of oil and gas production is worth the messes we are making in the process. Specifically the question is whether venting and flaring natural gas is acceptable within this balance of producing better lives and causing a tolerable degree of mess. This room is full of people who will be on both sides of that question. Of course some are on the extreme side of letting oxen make all the messes they want with no responsibility to clean it up. And others are on the extreme side of killing all oxen everywhere because they want no messes at all.
#2. My view is that natural gas flaring is a tolerable mess for the good that oil & gas production gives us. This is especially true during this time when the central government is overreaching to kill carbon based energy. The problem with this policy is that it threatens the livelihoods of everyone: those who gain their livings from private employment and those who gain their livelihoods from government employment or government entitlement. Killing the wealth of our nation due to centralized destruction of industry is ruinous to the national moral fabric and to our national security. So I believe the best policy is for the BLM to withdraw its new proposed venting and flaring rules.
#3. However, if the American people believe that natural gas venting and flaring is too damaging to the environment or too wasteful of a natural resource, then the best policy would be to solve it with good political and economic principles. The most important political principle is freedom and the most important economic principle is opportunity to create. So if the American people agree to end flaring, then they should do so by offering incentives to those who solve it. Fast track drilling approval on BLM lands to companies who will solve flaring. Give tax incentives and royalty discounts to companies who will solve their current flaring practices. This solution would maximize the values of environmental protection, freedom, and the productivity that creates wealth for both the private sector and the public sector. Those who would oppose this would be exposing their commitment to the extreme positions of out of control oxen or killing all the oxen of production.
One final point. The second most important political principle is accountability. The BLM should not be legislating a law of such scope and consequence because it is not accountable to the people. If this is the will of the people it should come through the accountable legislature. It will experience the approval or the wrath of the people at the ballot box where charades are hard to manufacture.