Rep. Peters Looks to Build Back Better, Introduces Landmark Legislation on Earth Day to Rein in Methane Emissions
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, on Earth Day, Rep. Scott Peters (CA-52) introduced the Methane Emissions Technology to Help Achieve Net-Zero Emissions (METHANE) Act, a long-term, durable solution to curb dangerous methane emissions and put the United States on competitive footing with the rest of the world.
Methane, a super pollutant more potent and harmful than carbon dioxide, is responsible for about 25 percent of the human-made warming we experience today. In the U.S., nearly one-third of all methane released into the atmosphere comes from oil and gas production, an industry that supports nearly 8 percent of the United States’ GDP. Last year, the French government blocked a power utility in France from signing a $7 billion, 20-year contract to buy liquefied natural gas from a facility in Texas, citing concerns that US natural gas is too dirty. The Center for Liquefied Natural Gas trade group suggested that the intervention was likely driven by the European Union’s announcement that it would be reviewing its methane emissions strategy to meet an even more ambitious overall emissions target by 2030.
The METHANE Act will align our country’s standards with that of other leading nations by improving our monitoring, reporting, and verification requirements for methane emissions. It would direct the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set methane intensity standards for oil and gas facilities with substantial emission levels, allowing each facility owner to determine how to meet the relevant standard. Offering compliance flexibility will ensure regulated entities can invest in methane abatement opportunities and technology that provide the greatest emission reduction potential at the lowest cost. The standards must decline in three-year increments and require the oil and gas sector to reach specified methane reduction targets. The bill also requires the EPA to impose monitoring, detection, repair, and replacement mandates based on the best available technologies, similar to the approach taken by the European Union.
“Controlling methane is the single most important step we can take to combat the climate crisis. While I strongly support a return to the Obama-era methane rule that imposes technology standards on new gas facilities, we can do more than merely build back after the Trump Administration – we can use this as an opportunity to build back better,” said Rep. Peters. “The METHANE Act will help move us ahead of the curve to get methane under control and keep it out of the atmosphere. We have made substantial advances in monitoring and detection technologies that should allow oil, gas, and other industries to significantly and strategically rein in methane emissions.”
Rep. Peters has established a track record of championing pragmatic climate policy. He led and co-led some of the most consequential climate bills enacted since 2013, including the USEIT Act and the American Innovation and Manufacturing Leadership Act that became law through last year’s historic energy package.
In addition to his METHANE Act, Rep. Peters’ other climate priorities this Congress include:
- The POWER ON Act: Introduced by Rep. Peters in March, the Prevent Outages with Energy Resiliency Options Nationwide (POWER ON) Act would fix the current regulatory framework that hampers the United States’ collective ability to meet our nation’s energy goals. By promoting the interstate transmission of electricity, the POWER ON Act will boost reliability, help decarbonize the power sector, electrify the transportation sector, adapt the grid to withstand the devastating effects of climate change, and lower electricity costs for consumers.
- The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act: The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act would put a price on carbon and return 100 percent of the net revenue as a rebate to Americans. This bill would help reduce U.S. carbon pollution by up to 45 percent by 2030, with a net-zero target by 2050. This would be achieved by pricing carbon at $15 per metric ton of CO2e and increasing the price by $10 every year.
- The Build More Housing Near Transit Act: Rep. Peters’ Build More Housing Near Transit Act would encourage the construction of low and middle-income housing in transit-served, walkable locations. The bill would also help slow climate change, as research shows that building housing near transit lines has vast potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Rep. Peters continued, “Last year's bipartisan energy legislation was just the start of an evolving action plan to aggressively tackle climate change. We need to continue to talk to experts and those across the political spectrum about constructive, comprehensive ways our country can take on this crisis together. We cannot shy away from doing the hard work to save the planet.”