| WASHINGTON, July 25
WASHINGTON, July 25 The internal watchdog of the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Friday that the
regulator does not adequately address methane leaks from natural
gas pipelines, harming both the economy and environment.
The EPA Inspector General said the agency's current
voluntary program to address methane leaks from pipelines has
yielded only minimal reductions of the potent greenhouse gas.
As well as contributing to climate change, the report said,
more than $192 million worth of natural gas was lost in 2011 due
to such leaks, increasing prices paid by consumers.
The report recommended that the EPA partner with the
Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials
Safety Administration (PHMSA) to improve oversight over methane
leaks. President Barack Obama has called for such a partnership,
but the agency has not yet taken such a move.
The president's 2013 climate action plan said addressing
methane emissions was "critical to our overall effort to address
global climate change."
The report also recommended the EPA develop a strategy to
address the financial and policy issues that hinder reducing
emissions from distribution pipelines.
The EPA agreed to that suggestion, but did not agree to
tackle other recommendations from the IG's office, including
setting performance goals and tracking sector emissions to
decide whether regulation would be necessary.
To see the entire IG report, click on: here
A report earlier this week from the AFL-CIO labor union and
the BlueGreen Alliance said the United States should replace
leak-prone pipelines every 10 years instead of the 30-year
period that is now standard.
The report said the more aggressive timetable could create
300,000 jobs and save consumers $1.5 billion in charges for lost
gas. Over 30 years, such a move would prevent 81 million tonnes
in greenhouse gas emissions - the equivalent of taking 17
million cars off the road for a year - the report said.
To see the AFL-CIO/BlueGreen Alliance report, click on: here
(Reporting by Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Ros Krasny and Dan