WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, today issued the following statement on an interagency agreement between the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Energy (DOE) to begin implementation of the Methane Emissions Reduction Program (MERP).
“I applaud the Biden administration for taking an important step in implementing the Methane Emissions Reduction Program,” said Chairman Carper. “Over the short term, we know that methane is some 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in our atmosphere. In the Inflation Reduction Act, we created this commonsense program to rein in excess methane emissions from the oil and gas sector and provided the industry with resources to do so. Making this funding available will help more companies, especially small producers, invest in existing technologies to reduce the methane that escapes during oil and gas production, benefiting our planet and economy.”
Today’s announcement follows a letter that Carper, along with 14 of his colleagues, sent to EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan on June 15, 2023, urging the agency to implement key provisions of the MERP.
As EPW Chairman, Senator Carper led negotiations to secure the Methane Emissions Reduction Program—the first-ever fee on greenhouse gas emissions by the federal government—as part of the Inflation Reduction Act.
The new program at EPA provides the oil and gas sector with $1.5 billion in grants, rebates, contracts, loans, and other forms of financial support to monitor and clean up excess methane emissions. Beginning in 2024, this program would implement a charge on the reported prior-year tons of methane emissions from oil and natural gas systems that exceed more than 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent gas. The charge would phase up over time to a fee of $1,500 for each excess ton of methane emissions.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the program will generate $6.35 billion over ten years. Resources for the Future estimates that the program will have a negligible cost to consumers.
Read more about the MERP and the EPW title of the Inflation Reduction Act here.