Feds plan to spend $350 million to reduce methane leaks
The federal government plans to spend $350 million to reduce methane leaks at oil and gas wells.
In Michigan, most of the oil and natural gas producers are small to medium-sized operators. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) says they often lack the money and expertise to implement cost-effective solutions that reduce methane leaks.
Financial and technical assistance will be offered by the USEPA and the Department of Energy (DOE).
The money will be distributed to eligible states such as Michigan to assist the oil and gas industry.
It’s unclear how much help Michigan is likely to get. The number of natural gas wells in Michigan has dropped from about 10,000 to close to 1,000 in the last decade. Oil production has been gradually declining decades. See a graph for both oil and gas here.
The USEPA and DOE program is targeting methane leaks because it is a potent greenhouse gas. One official said the amount of methane emitted from oil and gas operations in the U.S. is enough to fuel millions of homes a year.
It’s specifically targeting permanently reducing methane emissions from low-producing conventional wells and mitigating health effects in low-income and disadvantaged communities, according to a release from the agencies.
This effort is part of a larger $1.55 billion program to improve monitoring and reducing methane and other greenhouse gas emissions.