January 12, 2024

Whitehouse Welcomes EPA Proposed Rule Implementing Methane Emissions Fee

EPA proposal would implement Whitehouse’s methane fee that was passed into law as part of Democrats’ historic Inflation Reduction Act

Washington, DC – U.S. Senate Budget Committee Chairman Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) today cheered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s announcement of a proposed rule to establish a fee on excess methane pollution by the oil and gas industry.  Whitehouse was the author of the original methane fee proposal that was negotiated into the Inflation Reduction Act and passed into law in 2022.

“I applaud EPA’s rule implementing my methane emissions fee, which will spur the oil and gas industry to quickly clean up methane leaks now that it’s no longer free to pollute.  Combining the fee with the new methane rule and a robust leak enforcement task force will crack down hard on the wasteful super-emitters causing outsized damage to the planet,” said Whitehouse, who has long advocated for dramatically reducing methane emissions. 

Whitehouse noted that for this charge to be accurately assessed, EPA must also finalize its proposal to update subpart W of the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program to ensure that oil and gas companies accurately report their methane emissions based on empirical data derived from satellite, aerial, and terrestrial monitoring. 

“When all these rules are complete, the Biden administration will have set the model for a global methane reduction program,” added Whitehouse.

Methane is a super pollutant 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide in the first two decades after its release.  The oil and gas industry accounts for at least a third of man-made methane emissions.  Recent research suggests that methane emissions from oil and natural gas operations are 60 percent higher than previously estimated.

Democrats’ historic Inflation Reduction Act established a fee for methane emissions from certain oil and gas facilities that report emissions of more than 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year.  The fee starts at $900 per metric ton of wasteful emissions in 2024, increasing to $1,200 for 2025, and $1,500 for 2026 and beyond, and only applies to emissions that exceed the statutorily specified levels.

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Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921

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