EPA - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

06/21/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/21/2024 03:06

EPA, DOE Announce $850 Million to Reduce Methane Pollution from the Oil and Gas Sector

EPA, DOE Announce $850 Million to Reduce Methane Pollution from the Oil and Gas Sector

Funding from President Biden's Investing in America agenda builds on nearly 100 cross-government actions that are sharply reducing methane pollution in support of clean air, good jobs and climate action

June 21, 2024

Contact Information
EPA Press Office ([email protected])
WASHINGTON- Today, June 21, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy announced that applications are open for $850 million in federal funding for projects that will help monitor, measure, quantify and reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sectors as part of President Biden's Investing in America agenda. Oil and natural gas facilities are the nation's largest industrial source of methane, a climate "super pollutant" that is many times more potent than carbon dioxide and is responsible for approximately one third of the warming from greenhouse gases occurring today. Today's announcement builds on unprecedented action across the Biden Administration to dramatically cut methane pollution, with agencies taking nearly 100 actions in 2023 alone, including the finalization of an EPA rule that will yield an 80% reduction in methane emissions from covered oil and gas facilities.

This funding from the Inflation Reduction Act-the largest climate investment in history-will help mitigate legacy air pollution, create good jobs in the energy sector and disadvantaged communities, reduce waste and inefficiencies in U.S. oil and gas operations, and realize near-term emissions reductions, helping the United States reach President Biden's ambitious climate and clean air goals. The funding will specifically help small oil and natural gas operators reduce methane emissions and transition to available and innovative methane emissions reduction technologies, while also supporting partnerships that improve emissions measurement and provide accurate, transparent data to impacted communities. Today's announcement constitutes a key part of broader technical and financial assistance to be provided by the Methane Emissions Reduction Program.

"Today, we're building on strong standards and historic progress to cut methane pollution and protect communities across the country," said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. "These investments from President Biden's Investing in America agenda will drive the deployment of available and advanced technologies to better understand where methane emissions are coming from. That will help us more effectively reduce harmful pollution, tackle the climate crisis and create good-paying jobs."

"As we continue to accelerate the nation's clean energy transition, we are taking steps now to drastically reduce harmful emissions from America's largest source of industrial methane - the oil and gas sector,"said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. "I am proud to partner with EPA to help revitalize energy communities and deliver long-lasting health and environmental benefits across the country."

"President Biden's historic investment agenda has enabled the U.S. to aggressively and ambitiously take the actions we need to decarbonize every sector of the economy. We are making significant progress in our efforts to cut pollution - including super-pollutants like methane - while creating thousands of quality jobs and lowering energy costs for Americans," said Assistant to President Biden and National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi. "From implementing the U.S. Methane Emissions Reduction Action Plan that lays out a detailed roadmap for the federal government, to launching a Methane Task Force that brings all relevant agencies together around robust implementation, to hosting the first-ever White House methane summit that has catalyzed cross-sector partnerships, President Biden's leadership on tackling methane is part of a comprehensive and historic climate effort that is spurring technological innovation, creating good-paying jobs and economic opportunity, cutting pollution in every sector, and holding polluters accountable. Today's investments further those aims by providing the resources needed to monitor methane emissions and rapidly identify potential leaks to help protect our communities and planet."

The primary objectives of this funding opportunity announcement are to:

  1. Help small operators significantly reduce methane emissions from oil and natural gas operations, using commercially available technology solutions for methane emissions monitoring, measurement, quantification and mitigation.
  1. Accelerate the repair of methane leaks from low-producing wellsand the deployment of early-commercial technology solutions to reduce methane emissions from new and existing equipment such as natural gas compressors, gas-fueled engines, associated gas flares, liquids unloading operations, handling of produced water and other equipment leakage.
  1. Improve communities' access to empirical data and participation in monitoring through multiple installations of monitoring and measurement technologies while establishing collaborative relationships between equipment providers and communities.
  1. Enhance the detection and measurement of methane emissions from oil and gas operations at regional scale, while ensuring nationwide data consistency through the creation of collaborative partnerships. These partnerships will span the country's oil and gas-producing regions and draw in oil and natural gas owners and operators, universities, environmental justice organizations, community leaders, unions, technology developers, Tribes, state regulatory agencies, non-governmental research organizations, federally funded research and development centers and DOE's National Laboratories.

A competitive solicitation for this funding will enable a broad range of eligible U.S. entities to apply, including industry, academia, non-governmental organizations,Tribes and state and local governments. This funding opportunity is expected to achieve measurable outcomes for skilled workforce training, community involvement and environmental justice. Funding applicants are required to submit Community Benefits Plans to demonstrate meaningful engagement with and tangible benefits to the communities in which the proposed projects will be located. These plans must provide details on the applicant's commitments to community and labor engagement, quality job creation, diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility, and benefits to disadvantaged communities as part of the Justice40 Initiative. Established in Executive Order 14008, the President's Justice40 Initiative set the goal that 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal climate, clean energy and other investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution.

Read more details of this funding opportunity. For any questions on the application, applicants must submit written questions through the FedConnect portal at FedConnect.net. For assistance with any technical issues with grants.gov, please contact 1-800-518-4726 or [email protected]. More information, including applicant eligibility, can be found on the government grants page.

About the Methane Emissions Reduction Program

The Inflation Reduction Act, through the Methane Emissions Reduction Program, directed EPA to take action to tackle wasteful methane emissions from the oil and gas sector. Utilizing resources provided by Congress in the Inflation Reduction Act, EPA is partnering with DOE to provide $1.36 billion in financial and technical assistance to improve methane monitoring and reduce methane and other greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas sector. These investments are also expected to result in co-benefits of reducing non-greenhouse gas emissions such as volatile organic compounds and hazardous air pollutants.

Today's announcement builds on the $350 million in formula grant funding EPA and DOE announced in December 2023 to states to support industry efforts to voluntarily reduce emissions at low-producing wells, monitor emissions, and conduct environmental restoration at well pads.

Visit EPA and DOE websites for more information about the Methane Emissions Reduction Program.

Delivering on the U.S. Methane Action Plan

The funding opportunity announced today is a part of the Biden-Harris Administration's comprehensive, whole-of-government strategy to reduce harmful methane emissions across economic sectors, as outlined in the U.S. Methane Emissions Reduction Action Plan. Below is a summary of recent and ongoing initiatives:

  • In December, EPA announced final standards that will sharply reduce methane and other harmful air pollutants from the oil and natural gas industry, including from hundreds of thousands of existing sources nationwide, promote the use of cutting-edge methane detection technologies and deliver significant economic and public health benefits.
  • In May, EPA issued a final rule to strengthen, expand and update methane emissions reporting requirements for petroleum and natural gas systems under EPA's Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program, as required by President Biden's Inflation Reduction Act. The final revisions will ensure greater transparency and accountability for methane pollution from oil and natural gas facilities by improving the accuracy of annual emissions reporting from these operations.
  • EPA is working to finalize a Waste Emissions Charge rule, which will provide an incentive for companies to adopt best practices to reduce wasteful emissions and help capture near-term opportunities for methane reductions while EPA and states work toward full implementation of the final oil and gas rule.
  • The Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration proposed a new rule to significantly improve the detection and repair of leaks from more than 2.7 million miles of natural gas pipelines. The proposed rule would deploy pipeline workers across the country to keep more product in the pipe and prevent dangerous accidents, creating up to $2.3 billion annually in estimated benefits.
  • The Department of the Interior is deploying nearly $5 billion funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for workers to plug tens of thousands of orphaned oil and gas wells throughout the United States, including $64 million in 2023 for hundreds of improperly abandoned wells on federal lands, up to $660 million for states to plug thousands of high-priority orphaned wells on state and private lands, and an initial investment of nearly $40 million for Tribal Nations to address orphaned wells on their lands.
  • The Department of Agriculture, EPA and Food and Drug Administration recently launched a new Draft National Strategy for Reducing Food Loss and Waste and Recycling Organics to accelerate the prevention of food loss and waste - a major source of methane emissions.
  • The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law appropriated more than $11 billion over 15 years to eligible states and Tribes to reclaim abandoned coal mines, which will address dangerous safety and environmental conditions, including the elimination of major sources of water and methane pollution.
  • The Administration recently released the first ever National Strategy to Advance an Integrated U.S. Greenhouse Gas Measurement, Monitoring, and Information System to enhance coordination and integration of greenhouse gas - including methane - measurement, monitoring and information efforts. Such efforts include the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's collection of high-resolution methane leak data via the EMIT Mission on the International Space Station, aircraft flights coordinated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Institute for Standards and Technology to connect satellite data to specific emissions sources on the ground, and the work of DOE and the State Department to coordinate international methane data collection and measurement efforts via a new Measurement, Monitoring, Reporting and Verification Working Group and the UN Methane Alert and Response System.

Together, these efforts across the Biden-Harris Administration are accelerating reductions in methane emissions, cutting costs, supporting clean air and public health in disadvantaged communities, creating good jobs and advancing President Biden's ambitious climate goals.