EPA Says Emissions from Systems Operated by Natural Gas utilities Continue to Decline
Washington, D.C. - The American Gas Association (AGA) today applauded the announcement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that estimates of emissions from our nation's natural gas delivery system continue their declining trend. The 19th Annual Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks affirms that the major contributors to the decrease in emissions from 2011-2012 were the decrease in energy consumption across all sectors in the U.S. economy, and the decrease in carbon intensity for electricity generation due to fuel switching from coal to natural gas.
Natural gas utilities continually upgrade their systems to help enhance pipeline safety, which has led to a decline in emissions year after year, said Dave McCurdy, President and CEO of the American Gas Association. Each set of new data that comes out confirms this declining trend. We remain vigilant and deeply committed to working with state regulators and key stakeholders to continue this trend through smart, cost effective investments in system modernization.
Since 1990, natural gas utilities have installed modern plastic pipes used for delivering gas at low pressure at a rate of 30,000 miles per year, and cathodically protected steel mains used for high pressure delivery at a rate of 1,500 miles per year, both connecting new customers and upgrading existing pipeline infrastructure. All natural gas utilities have integrity management programs that include upgrading pipelines that may no longer be fit for service. In addition, 38 states have already adopted specific accelerated infrastructure replacement mechanisms to allow natural gas distribution utilities to recover the costs of replacing systems on a timely basis. AGA supports the expansion of these programs to include all utilities operating in these states, as well as the adoption of similar programs by additional states.
In February, the American Gas Association Board of Directors led by Chairman Gregg Kantor, approved principles for continuing the declining trend in natural gas emissions, a key step towards their goal of identifying pipeline safety best practices and a set of voluntary guidelines in this area.