Reps. Deutch, Crist Introduce Bill to Reduce Methane Emissions
The Methane Emissions Reduction Act would put a price on methane to drive the oil and natural gas industry toward eliminating methane emissions in their operations.
Today, U.S. Representatives Ted Deutch (FL-22) and Charlie Crist (FL-13) introduced the Methane Emissions Reduction Act to curb methane emissions by the oil and natural gas industry in the United States.
Methane, a highly potent greenhouse gas, is 80% more powerful than carbon dioxide over a twenty-year period after its release. Increased methane concentrations in the atmosphere are responsible for about 25% of observed global warming. The oil and natural gas industry accounts for at least one third of anthropogenic methane emissions. Recent estimates suggest that methane emissions from oil and natural gas operations are 60% higher than previously estimated. Methane emissions from oil and natural gas operations are also highly wasteful. The flaring and venting of methane gas by oil and natural gas operations accounts for approximately $2 billion in lost natural gas that could be used to fuel 10 million homes.
"If we're serious about addressing climate change and the warming planet, we need a plan to effectively reduce methane gas emissions," said Rep. Deutch. “Putting a price on methane emissions will drive a change in behavior by the oil and natural gas industry to curb the release of this potent greenhouse gas. The Methane Emissions Reduction Act is an aggressive response to harmful methane emissions and would significantly reduce dangerous greenhouse gas emissions, combat climate change, and reduce waste."
“As a peninsula on a peninsula, Pinellas County is Ground Zero for climate change,” said Rep. Crist. “Methane is a key driver of our changing climate, and we must significantly reduce its emission to protect our homes, businesses, and livelihoods, not only here in Pinellas, but across the country. Our legislation will help to combat the climate crisis by making methane polluters pay and using the money to improve the resiliency of coastal communities like Pinellas.”
The Methane Emissions Reduction Act would require the Treasury Department to work with the Environmental Protection Agency and NOAA to develop a program to measure methane emissions annually in each oil and gas producing basin. Beginning in 2023, the Treasury Department would assess a fee on methane emissions that would be assessed on a basin to basin basis. The fee would cover all companies that produce, gather, process, or transmit oil and gas in a given basin. Oil and gas producing companies that have taken steps to control methane emissions would be eligible to opt out and participate in an alternative fee program. Money raised from the fee on methane emissions would go toward the National Coastal Resilience Fund to help restore and strengthen barriers that protect coastal communities.
The Methane Emissions Reduction Act is supported by: Environmental Defense Fund, Union of Concerned Scientists, National Wildlife Federation, and Clean Air Task Force.
Reps. Deutch and Crist also introduced the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, a bill that would put a price on carbon and return 100% of the net revenue as a rebate to Americans.