August 16, 2023

Ranking Members Larsen, Payne Jr., and T&I Colleagues Support Proposed Rule to Improve Gas Pipeline Leak Detection and Repair


WASHINGTON, DCToday, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Rick Larsen (D-WA), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-NJ), Vice Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Valerie Foushee (D-NC), and 18 Democratic members of the Committee sent a letter in support of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s (PHMSA) proposed rule, “Pipeline Safety: Gas Pipeline Leak Detection and Repair,” to improve the detection of gas pipeline leaks and accelerate the repair of leaking pipelines.

In the letter, the members wrote, “Fully implementing this rule will result in a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and is a key feature of the U.S. Methane Emissions Reduction Action Plan…. This rule also has the potential to help mitigate the near-term effects of climate change, such as extreme weather events and natural disasters, by substantially reducing the amount of methane emitted into the atmosphere.”

The members highlighted provisions they support which would “Revise the reporting minimum threshold to detect smaller leaks earlier, and further support lowering the leak reporting threshold to 500,000 standard cubic feet to align with the EPA’s greenhouse gas reporting standards[;] Minimize intentional gas releases caused by maintenance, repair, and construction; Incentivize pipeline operators to use commercially-available equipment that can capture released methane for later use; and Establish more appropriate timeframes for the repair of all leaks, prioritizing these leaks by their risks to public safety and the environment.”

In addition, the members noted the outsized contribution of gathering lines toward U.S. methane emissions and wrote, “Applying the final rule to regulated gas gathering pipelines and requiring that these pipeline owners submit data to the National Pipeline Mapping System will help ensure these leaks are found and repaired as soon as possible and will expand damage prevention efforts resulting in an increase in pipeline safety.”

Read the full letter here.