WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, joined U.S. Senate Budget Committee Chairman Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-N.J.) in sending a letter to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan asking the agency to strengthen the final Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program rule to ensure that oil and gas operators more accurately report their methane emissions.

“Finalizing a strong and comprehensive rule on schedule is critical to implement Congressional direction in the IRA, ensure accurate emissions data and fair assessments of the charge, and support meaningful reductions in methane emissions to help avoid the worst consequences of climate change,” the senators wrote.

The lawmakers’ letter asks the EPA to:

  • Finalize reporting requirements for large and atypical methane release events;
  • Expand satellite, aerial, and ground-based monitoring;
  • Require operators to use data from leak inspections to strengthen accuracy of their reported emissions;
  • Finalize proposed emissions factors for equipment leaks;
  • Prepare to audit submitted emissions reports to ensure accuracy; and
  • Make all reported emissions data publicly accessible and easy to understand.

BACKGROUND

Chairman Carper led the negotiations to secure the inclusion of the  Methane Emissions Reduction Program (MERP) for oil and gas facilities in the Democrats’ historic Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) — the first-ever fee on greenhouse gas emissions by the federal government. The MERP was modeled after Senator Whitehouse’s methane fee proposal.

Methane is 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide in the first two decades after its release. The oil and gas industry accounts for at least a third of man-made methane emissions. Recent research suggests that methane emissions from oil and natural gas operations are 60 percent higher than previously estimated.

The full text of the letter is available here.

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