AGA Recognizes Improvements to Subpart W of Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program 

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a final rule on Monday that incorporates numerous improvements to Subpart W of the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program in line with AGA’s previously filed comments. AGA is a longstanding proponent of improving the transparency and accuracy of methane emissions reporting under this program and offered extensive comments in support of many of EPA’s proposed changes and urging further improvements for revising Subpart W. 

“Our industry is committed to remaining at the forefront of methane leak detection and emissions reduction. We’ve reduced emissions by more than 70% since 1990—and we’re not done yet,” said AGA President and CEO Karen Harbert. “While there are still changes that could be made to Subpart W to better support the specific needs of natural gas local distribution companies, this rule is a step toward bringing better monitoring technologies and measurement methodologies into practice to allow our industry to document the strides we have taken and continue to take in reducing emissions. We commend EPA’s inclusion of many of our comments in the final rule and welcome EPA’s plan to reevaluate the development of new methane detection and measurement technologies on a regular basis. We are eager to see those advancements incorporated into Subpart W reporting in future rulemakings.” 

AGA has long supported EPA’s efforts to allow utilities to report emissions based on direct measurements and to develop site-specific emission factors that are more representative of the actual emissions from natural gas pipelines.  In comments filed in October, AGA also called for greater flexibility for utilities to leverage advanced methane detection technologies and methods for their Subpart W reporting—such as drones, satellites, and other mobile platforms—as part of a suite of options rather than a prescriptive approach. AGA welcomes EPA’s decision to allow utilities to supplement bottom-up methane detection methods with top-down approaches while not requiring them to rely solely on such top-down methods—an approach that is consistent with the best available science on methane detection.  

As EPA recognizes in its annual GHG Emissions Inventory, methane emissions from the natural gas delivery system have declined 70% since 1990, even as tens of millions of customers have been added to the system. The mileage of pipes made from more modern, less leak-prone materials has more than tripled during the same period. In total, American natural gas utilities invest more than $33 billion every year on programs to enhance safety and reduce leaks across the natural gas delivery system. every year on programs to enhance safety and reduce leaks across the natural gas delivery system. 

AGA’s full comments on the draft rule can be accessed here

About Subpart W: 

Under Subpart W of the GHGRP, petroleum and natural gas systems—including natural gas utilities—annually report their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to EPA. This information is made available to the public, incorporated into EPA’s annual GHG Emissions Inventory, and used in the development of environmental regulations.