As a longtime resident of the Western Slope, I taught in the public schools which requires salvaging and not wasting materials. I had up to 350 students a week on a budget of $1 per child; waste is not an option. That is why I was encouraged to see that more than 60 local businesses from across the West Slope wrote to encourage our senators to oppose efforts to abolish the Bureau of Land Management's methane and waste prevention rule. The BLM rule will keep private corporations from wasting our publicly owned energy resources, ensure taxpayers and our local communities receive the revenues they're entitled to and protect public health.
The BLM rule is not only in the public's best interest, but makes good business sense. The rule will help to increase state and local revenues by keeping natural gas in the pipeline and provide positive returns for operators. In fact, independent economic analyses have found that the rule will actually increase industry profits in the long term. Additionally, as we saw after Colorado finalized its state rules in 2014, these best practices can stimulate the local economy by incentivizing the development of new companies and creating new jobs.
According to federal data, flaring of natural gas produced on federal and tribal lands increased 134 percent from 2009 to 2013. This has contributed to the loss of more than $330 million worth of gas annually and taxpayers could miss out on $800 million in royalty revenues over the next decade if this waste is allowed to continue. Few businesses I know would operate in such a manner. It's important to be sensitive to cost when talking about rules, but I understand the repercussions of repealing this rule as well as the benefits of keeping it intact. Senators Cory Gardner and Michael Bennet need to listen to these voices from our local communities and ensure that oil and gas lobbyists don't succeed in convincing Congress to roll it back.
Two accidents involving school property are proving costly for Delta County Joint School District, district business manager Jim Ventrello reported last week. Both incidents involved uninsured drivers, forcing the school district to file claims with its insurance provider and pay deductibles of $10,000.