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With Leaky Pipelines, Big Gas Keeps Saying One Thing and Doing Another

There are millions of miles of “natural” gas pipelines in the United States, transporting gas hundreds of miles from well sites to homes and businesses. Along the way, these pipelines leak methane, a potent greenhouse gas with 80-times the warming power of carbon dioxide over 20 years. 

PHMSA's Role In Mitigating Leaky Pipeline Risks

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHSMA) is in charge of mitigating the risks that gas pipelines pose to people and the environment. However, the current regulatory framework allows operators to use antiquated leak detection and repair practices, potentially missing leaks that endanger both the climate and nearby communities. Further, the agency does not apply any basic safety standards to hundreds of thousands of miles of pipelines, allowing operators to dump pollution into the atmosphere. 

Congress Passes The Bipartisan Safety Bill To Fix Leaky Pipelines

To address these concerns, Congress passed a bipartisan safety bill in 2020 that mandated PHMSA to develop advanced leak detection and repair requirements for pipeline operators. PHMSA proposed new regulations in May 2023, but the agency still needs to finalize the new rules. In the meantime, these pipelines continue to spew millions of tons of methane into our air each year, which is increasingly on display as satellite data and other new technologies make this historically invisible climate pollution visible. 

Many oil and gas industry representatives have publicly claimed to support robust methane rules and climate action, yet meanwhile have been working behind the scenes to derail, delay, or water down PHMSA’s new safety standards. Here’s the dirty truth:

Reality Check–What the Gas Industry Says vs. What It Does

Talk is cheap. If the leading oil and gas companies actually supported requiring leaky pipelines to clean up their operations, they would ensure their representatives in Washington reflected those priorities.

Take Action–Support the Advanced Leak Detection and Repair Rule

Thankfully there is something you can do to hold companies accountable. PHMSA just proposed a draft Advanced Leak Detection and Repair Rule to improve oversight of gas pipelines and infrastructure, improve community safety, cut climate-damaging and health-hazardous pollution & create jobs in methane mitigation. More than 160 elected officials have called on Secretary Pete Buttigieg to swiftly finalize this crucial rule.

Help us spread the word: Communities need these protections now! There is no time for delay.

Tell United States Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg to Support Advanced Gas Leak Detection

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