WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced a Notice of Intent (NOI) to make funds available to help measure and reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sectors as part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda. Methane is a climate “super pollutant” that is more potent than carbon dioxide and responsible for approximately one third of the warming from greenhouse gases occurring today. 

This funding from the Inflation Reduction Act will help oil and natural gas sector operators cut methane emissions and transition to innovative methane emissions reduction technologies, while also supporting partnerships to improve emissions measurement and provide accurate, transparent data to impacted communities. Through a combination of technical and financial assistance, the Methane Emissions Reduction Program will help reduce inefficiencies in U.S. oil and gas operations, create new jobs in energy and disadvantaged communities, improve public health, and realize near-term emission reductions—helping reach the nation’s ambitious climate and clean air goals.

“We know the adoption of cleaner and smarter ways to monitor and reduce wasteful methane emissions is critical to addressing climate change,” said Jennifer Macedonia, EPA Deputy Assistant Administrator in the Office of Air and Radiation. “Through these historic investments from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, EPA and DOE will invest in American innovation and contribute to the Biden-Harris Administration’s ambitious goal of reducing climate pollution while improving public health and protecting communities.” 

"As part of a whole of government approach, DOE and EPA are coordinating our efforts to address methane emissions throughout the oil and natural gas supply chain,” said Ryan Peay, Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Resource Sustainability in DOE's Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management. “Together we are supporting innovative solutions that will address these harmful emissions at a large scale across the nation, while also developing region-specific assistance that will result in environmental, health, and safety benefits for local communities.”

If released, the corresponding funding opportunity would focus on three areas: 

  1. Mitigating methane emissions and reducing other air pollution associated with existing wells and infrastructure. Funds would be provided to mitigate and monitor methane emissions from low-producing wells and other oil and natural gas assets, that are owned and/or operated by small producers/operators, through a small number of awards, which would each fund a selected lead entity such as an organization that represents oil and natural gas producers, a non-governmental research institution, university, or Tribal organization. The intent would be for these organizations to manage and optimize the effective distribution of these funds to owners/operators with relevant oil and natural gas assets, including one award focused on mitigating methane emissions from oil and natural gas assets on Tribal lands. This area is anticipated to complement efforts currently being undertaken by states through recently announced formula grants
     
  2. Accelerating the deployment of innovative methane reduction solutions for reducing emissions from petroleum and natural gas systems. This may include efforts to support the field demonstration of near-commercial solutions that can effectively address emissions from difficult-to-mitigate sources on a large scale, to accelerate the implementation of innovative methane emissions reduction technology solutions.
     
  3. Characterizing and quantifying methane emissions from oil and natural gas operations across multiple, large geographical regions through the creation of regional methane emissions measurement and monitoring consortia. Activities may include, but are not limited to, methane emissions data collection and acquisition; development of annual emissions estimates at equipment-, facility-, and basin-levels; and training on data and technology usage for workers in the oil and gas industry and communities with environmental justice concerns. The intent would be to develop region-specific collaborative partnerships among oil and natural gas owners and operators, universities, environmental justice organizations, community leaders, workers, technology developers, Tribes, state regulatory agencies, non-governmental research organizations, Federally Funded Research and Development Centers, and DOE’s National Laboratories.

In keeping with the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal to ensure the clean energy transition benefits all, this program also advances the Justice40 Initiative – which set the goal that 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal climate and clean energy investments flow to disadvantaged communities, facilitates broader energy prosperity, and supports the equitable creation and retention of good-paying jobs. Guidance on specific application and reporting requirements will be included in the program funding opportunity announcement (FOA).

This NOI is issued to give applicants ample time to prepare their proposals and form partnerships (if necessary) in anticipation of the upcoming issuance of the FOA. More information, including anticipated eligibility criteria for this NOI, can be found here

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

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