WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, today released the following statement on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s supplemental proposal to further reduce methane emissions.
“One year ago, the Biden Administration took an important step in restoring comprehensive methane emissions standards in our nation. In the time since then, we successfully enacted the first-ever federal charge on methane pollution from the oil and gas sector in the Inflation Reduction Act,” said Senator Carper, the author of the program. ”Now, as President Biden meets with world leaders to assess the state of international climate action, I applaud the administration for strengthening the U.S. standards for a pollutant over 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide in the near term. This action, paired with the Methane Emissions Reduction Program in the Inflation Reduction Act, will make a dramatic cut in our nation’s methane emissions in the coming years and better position the United States to continue leading the world toward a cleaner, healthier future.”
THE METHANE EMISSIONS REDUCTION PROGRAM EXPLAINED:
This 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 2025, 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 per year 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 in revenue for the government.
The charge is imposed only on emissions above set thresholds, and any emissions due to delays in obtaining gathering line and transmission infrastructure environmental permits to capture methane emissions are exempt from paying the fee. Additionally, the program strengthens EPA’s regulatory authority under the Clean Air Act. It does so by exempting facilities that are able to comply with new methane emissions requirements, including EPA’s newly announced standards.