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June 13, 2023

Congressmen Lieu and Merkley Introduce Bicameral Legislation to Address Methane Emissions

WASHINGTON, DC—Today, Representative Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) led the introduction of the Methane Emissions Research Act in both the House and Senate. Ranking Member Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) also joined introducing the bill. This legislation creates a pilot study at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to use direct measurements to quantify methane emissions from oil and gas infrastructure in the United States. The bill addresses knowledge gaps that were identified by the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology’s investigation into oil and gas sector methane leaks as well as a hearing held by the Committee in the 117th Congress that focused on the science of oil and gas sector methane emissions.

“I came to Congress to fight climate change,” said Congressman Lieu (D-CA). “Reducing methane emissions is a key part of that fight. However, to effectively cut methane emissions, we must ensure the federal government has an accurate assessment of current emissions levels from domestic gas and oil operations, the second-largest source of methane emissions in the United States. That’s why I’m pleased to introduce the Methane Emissions Research Act, which would underscore the EPA’s authority to measure methane emissions from these industries. The Inflation Reduction Act directed EPA to conduct these types of scientific activities, and we believe it is imperative to do so. Our bill seeks to fill in the data gaps that currently exist regarding oil and gas methane emissions. In doing so, we are better positioned to craft effective emission reduction policies. We must act now to cut methane emissions and protect our planet.”

“Scientific study after scientific study shows that EPA is massively underestimating the greenhouse gas emissions from fossil gas production,” said Senator Merkley (D-OR). “Fossil gas is not a bridge fuel. Congress instructed the EPA to update this number as part of the Methane Emission Reduction Program. We are again telling EPA that they need to get methane emission numbers in line with scientific data."

“Action to curb the amount of methane emitted into our atmosphere is fundamental to fighting the climate crisis,” said Ranking Member Lofgren (D-CA). “A major roadblock in moving forward in that effort is that we don’t fully understand how much methane is being emitted by the oil and gas industry. We need more data—simply put, you can’t stop what you don’t know about. This bill will help to support the EPA’s work to address those gaps in knowledge, which will allow us to move forward with every tool we have to reduce methane emissions. I’m glad to be introducing this strong bicameral legislation alongside Congressmen Lieu and Merkley today and I look forward to working with the EPA in seeing this through.”

Cosponsors in both the House and Senate include:

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)

Sen. Alex Padilla (D-CA)

Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM)

Ranking Member Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)

Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR)

Rep. Haley Stevens (D-MI)

Rep. Jennifer McClellan (D-VA)

Rep. Sean Casten (D-IL)

Rep. Valerie Foushee (D-NC)

Rep. Andrea Salinas (D-OR)

Learn more about the bill here.