WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) led a letter with 11 colleagues urging the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to issue strong regulations to help reduce methane leaks within our natural gas pipeline system. Specifically, the Senators urged DOT and PHMSA to require advanced methane leak detection technologies that effectively detect and address harmful greenhouse gas emissions, an important step in implementing the PIPES Act of 2020 which Congress passed last year. 

“Leaks in natural gas gathering, transmission, storage, processing and distribution threaten public health and our environment and cost industry substantial amounts in escaped methane,” the Senators wrote to DOTSecretary Pete Buttigieg. “Methane is more than 80 times as potent as carbon dioxide and drives near-term greenhouse gas emission trends. A 2018 study published in Science found that the volume of natural gas leaking from across the natural gas supply chain would be enough to fuel 10 million homes and isworth an estimated $2 billion per year – and these estimates do not include the significant air quality and climate benefits associated with abating these methane emissions.”

The Senators continued, “The first step to fixing methane leaks is finding them. Fortunately, effective technologies now exist to detect, locate, and quantify natural gas leaks quickly and accurately. Enabling swift, broad deployment of this technology will keep our communities safer, our air cleaner, and our greenhouse gas emissions lower. That is why in December 2020, Congress reauthorized the PIPES Act and required PHMSA to create minimum performance standards for leak detection and repair that reflect the capabilities of commercially-available advanced leak detection technologies.”

“We are urging the Department of Transportation and PHMSA to take quick action to complete this rulemaking process and issue strong regulations that will enhance pipeline safety and reduce harmful methane emissions throughout the United States,” the Senators concluded.”

The following Senators co-signed this letter: Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Angus King (D-ME), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), and Tina Smith (D-MN).

The full text of the letter can be viewed here.