The Smithsonia Channel, Associated Press
This November, 2014 photo shows an oil well in Sidney, Mont. Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. declined by 22 this week to 932 amid depressed oil prices.

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration intends to clamp down on oil companies that burn off natural gas on public lands.

New rules proposed move Friday will seek to reduce waste and harmful methane emissions as President Barack Obama addresses climate change.

Energy companies frequently "flare" or burn off vast supplies of natural gas at drilling sites because it doesn't make as much money as oil. A Government Accountability Office report said 40 percent of the gas being flared or vented could be captured economically and sold.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell says natural gas should be used to power the economy and not be wasted by being burned away. She says the new rule should generate millions of dollars that can be returned to taxpayers, tribes and states while reducing pollution, too.