Funding From President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act Will Help Improve Air Quality for Communities by Helping States Take the Lead in Cutting Methane Emissions from Low-Producing Well Sites
Washington — As part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) today announced a conditional commitment to 14 states to receive a total of $350 million in formula grant funding to help measure and reduce methane emissions, one of the biggest drivers of climate change, from the oil and gas sector. The funding, which is made possible by President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act—the largest climate investment in history—will help states support industry efforts to cut methane emissions from wells on nonfederal lands and support environmental restoration of well sites.
“Investing in projects and programs that significantly reduce methane emissions is an important priority to slow the harmful effects of climate change,” said Ryan Peay, Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Resource Sustainability in DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management. “The grants awarded today facilitate critical partnerships between states and the oil and gas sector, addressing a key source of these emissions while generating substantial climate, health, and economic benefits for local communities nationwide.”
“On the heels of EPA’s final standards to protect communities from methane pollution, today we’re proud to partner with the Department of Energy to announce critical funds to aid states and industry in addressing methane emissions under the Methane Emissions Reduction Program,” said Jennifer Macedonia, EPA Associate Deputy Assistant Administrator in the Office of Air and Radiation. “Through these historic investments in America, EPA and DOE are working with states to improve the efficiency and economic competitiveness of U.S. oil and gas operations and create new jobs in energy communities, while realizing near-term emissions reductions that protect people and the planet.”
In the United States, 30 percent of methane emissions come from the oil and gas sector, which increasingly has tools to slash leaks. Methane is 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. Rapid, sharp cuts in methane can generate near immediate climate benefits and are a crucial addition to cutting carbon dioxide in slowing the rate of warming of Earth’s atmosphere.
Through these investments, the Methane Emissions Reduction Program will help industry reduce waste, create new jobs in energy communities and realize near-term emission reductions – helping reach the nation’s ambitious climate and clean air goals. Monitoring and mitigating methane emissions from the oil and gas sector will benefit energy communities, which often include low-income and communities of color, and deliver long-lasting health and environmental benefits across the country. This commitment supports the Biden-Harris Administration’s ambitious environmental justice agenda through the Justice40 Initiative, which set the goal that 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain covered Federal investments flow to disadvantaged or Justice40 communities.
Once all legal and administrative requirements are satisfied, funding received through the Methane Emissions Reduction Program will provide a combination of technical and financial assistance to states to help well owners and operators voluntarily identify and eliminate methane emissions from low-producing conventional oil and gas wells, also referred to as marginal conventional wells, with disproportionately high methane emissions. States can also use the funding to support environmental restoration of well sites and monitor the sites to verify that plugged wells are no longer emitting methane. EPA and DOE will also provide technical assistance to help states, industry, and other partners to implement cost-effective solutions to monitor and reduce methane emissions from these wells.
The following state agencies received conditional funding commitments based on a participating state’s proportion of the total number of low-producing conventional wells in participating states on nonfederal lands:
- Texas Commission on Environmental Quality: $134,151,343
- Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection: $44,457,220
- West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection: $37,791,464
- California State Lands Commission: $21,913,688
- Ohio Department of Natural Resources: $19,941,597
- Illinois Department of Natural Resources: $17,367,009
- Louisiana Department of Natural Resources: $15,661,335
- New Mexico Department of Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources: $14,656,151
- Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet: $12,912,198
- Colorado Department of Natural Resources: $12,608,270
- New York State Department of Environmental Conservation: $8,123,602
- Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy: $5,022,306
- State of Utah Department of Environmental Quality: $2,750,115
- State of Virginia Department of Energy: $2,643,702
These conditional commitments for grant funding are the first in a series of funding opportunities through the Inflation Reduction Act to monitor and reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector. In 2024, EPA and DOE intend to make additional competitive solicitations available to a broader range of applicants to advance the deployment of technologies and practices to monitor and reduce emissions of methane and other greenhouse gases. A forthcoming Notice of Intent for the competitive funding will provide more information.
EPA and DOE are working with other members of the new White House Methane Task Force to advance a whole-of-government approach to proactive methane leak detection, mitigation, and data transparency, and support state and local efforts to mitigate methane emissions. Today’s actions by EPA and DOE will speed up implementation of the U.S. Methane Emissions Reduction Action Plan, building on nearly 100 Administration actions taken this year to dramatically reduce methane emissions under the U.S. Methane Emissions Reduction Action Plan.
Shelley C. Martin