AGA Responds to EPA Methane Rule
Washington, D.C. – The United States Environmental Protection Agency announced final revised methane and volatile organic compound (“VOC”) emission standards for the oil and gas industry today, setting in place new regulations to lower emissions from new and existing sources in the oil and natural gas sector via EPA’s authority under Section 111 of the Clean Air Act.
Even though the final rule released today continues to exempt local distribution companies (LDCs), utilities’ voluntary investments in the future of the natural gas distribution system have helped to ensure that as little as one cubic foot of natural gas leaks per every thousand delivered to American homes. Additionally, the mileage of natural gas mains made from more modern materials has more than tripled since 1990.
“The American Gas Association is committed to providing safe, affordable and reliable energy while helping customers and natural gas utilities to minimize their carbon footprint. Our industry has voluntarily invested heavily in reducing emissions and has made minimizing leaks a top priority, resulting in a decline in methane emissions from natural gas distribution systems of almost 70 percent,” said AGA President and CEO Karen Harbert. “As we continue to advance new technologies and approaches, this industry will play a critical role in helping achieve our nation’s energy and environmental goals.”
AGA’s member companies invest directly in the energy efficiency of their customers. American natural gas utilities spent an average of $4.3 million per day on programs to help customers weatherize their homes or upgrade to more efficient natural gas appliances. Because of these programs and the inherent efficiency of natural gas, the average emissions from homes using natural gas have dropped by half since this work began, with the average home using natural gas appliances contributing 22 percent lower emissions than their all-electric counterparts.
AGA and the Edison Electric Institute plan to update their joint Natural Gas Sustainability Initiative (“NGSI”) Methane Intensity Protocol and related ESG templates to remain in line with the new regulations following a complete review of the final rule.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The natural gas industry remains committed to sustainability. AGA’s study Net-Zero Emissions Opportunities for Gas Utilities provides additional information on the pathways natural gas utilities can take to achieve net-zero emissions with energy efficiency, alternative fuels like clean hydrogen and renewable natural gas (RNG), and other promising technologies and strategies.