Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 8, 2016

Reductions in Methane Emissions Sought by Obama Administration

The White House and the Energy Department have announced a number of actions to reduce methane emissions from natural gas systems, as the administration capped off a series of meetings with states, industry and environmental groups as part of President Barack Obama’s Climate Action Plan.

“By expanding our discussions through these methane roundtables, we have heard from several different groups about the benefits to finding workable solutions to the problem of methane leakage,” Energy Secretary Ernest J. Moniz said in a statement. “These benefits include job creation through pipeline and other equipment replacement, cost recovery for infrastructure investments that increase safety and save energy, and opportunities for addressing climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

Moniz recommended that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission develop ways to ensure companies to get credited for new investments that cut methane emissions such as replacing less efficient compressors and inferior pipes. Other initiatives include:

  • Efficiency Standards for Natural Gas Compressors – The Energy Department will begin the process of establishing energy efficiency standards for new natural gas compressor units, which are currently estimated to consume more than 7 percent of natural gas in the U.S. Improved efficiency will help provide energy savings for consumers and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Advanced Natural Gas System Manufacturing – In collaboration with industry, the Department will evaluate and establish a high-impact manufacturing research and development initiative to improve natural gas system efficiency and leak reduction.
  • Encouraging State Leadership for Efficient Distribution – The Energy Department will join the National Association of State Regulatory Utility Commissioners in a technical partnership to accelerate investments for infrastructure modernization and repairs to natural gas distribution networks, with DOE providing grant funding and technical assistance to help inform decision-marking by state utility commissioners.

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