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EPA, DOE Announce $850 Million to Reduce Methane Pollution from the Oil and Gas Sector

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy today announced that applications are open for $850 million in federal funding for projects that will help monitor, measure, quantify and reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sectors.

Oil and natural gas facilities are the nation's largest industrial source of methane, 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 gasses occurring today. 

This funding from the Inflation Reduction Act—the largest climate investment in history—will help mitigate legacy air pollution, create good jobs in the energy sector and disadvantaged communities, reduce waste and inefficiencies in U.S. oil and gas operations, and realize near-term emissions reductions, helping the United States reach its climate and clean air goals. 

The funding will specifically help small oil and natural gas operators reduce methane emissions and transition to available and innovative methane emissions reduction technologies, while also supporting partnerships that improve emissions measurement and provide accurate, transparent data to impacted communities. 

The primary objectives of this funding opportunity announcement are to: 

  • Help small operators significantly reduce methane emissions from oil and natural gas operations, using commercially available technology solutions for methane emissions monitoring, measurement, quantification and mitigation. 

  • Accelerate the repair of methane leaks from low-producing wells and the deployment of early-commercial technology solutions to reduce methane emissions from new and existing equipment such as natural gas compressors, gas-fueled engines, associated gas flares, liquids unloading operations, handling of produced water and other equipment leakage. 

  • Improve communities' access to empirical data and participation in monitoring through multiple installations of monitoring and measurement technologies while establishing collaborative relationships between equipment providers and communities.

  • Enhance the detection and measurement of methane emissions from oil and gas operations at regional scale, while ensuring nationwide data consistency through the creation of collaborative partnerships. These partnerships will span the country's oil and gas-producing regions and draw in oil and natural gas owners and operators, universities, environmental justice organizations, community leaders, unions, technology developers, Tribes, state regulatory agencies, non-governmental research organizations, federally funded research and development centers and DOE's National Laboratories.  

Funding applicants are required to submit Community Benefits Plans to demonstrate meaningful engagement with and tangible benefits to the communities in which the proposed projects will be located. 

These plans must provide details on the applicant's commitments to community and labor engagement, quality job creation, diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility, and benefits to disadvantaged communities as part of the Justice40 Initiative

Established in Executive Order 14008, the President's Justice40 Initiative set the goal that 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal climate, clean energy and other investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution. 

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