Congresswoman Summer Lee Announces Over $44M in Funding to Cut Methane Emissions From Wells and Support Environmental Restoration of Well Sites

**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE**

December 15, 2023 

CONTACT: Emilia Rowland, Emilia.Rowland@mail.house.gov

Congresswoman Summer Lee Announces Over $44M in Funding to Cut Methane Emissions From Wells and Support Environmental Restoration of Well Sites

[PITTSBURGH, PA] — Today, Congresswoman Summer Lee announced $44,457,220 in formula grant funding to help measure and reduce methane emissions, one of the biggest drivers of climate change, from the oil and gas sector. The funding, which is made possible by President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act—the largest climate investment in history—will help support industry efforts to cut methane emissions from wells on nonfederal lands and support environmental restoration of well sites.

Congresswoman Lee said, “I’m so proud to deliver over $44M in funding to cut methane emissions in my district. In regions like Western Pennsylvania, where the legacy of oil and gas extraction is deeply felt, this investment is not just about reducing emissions; it’s about justice and health for our communities. This funding will accelerate efforts to measure, monitor, and mitigate methane from nonfederal wells, which is crucial for protecting both the environment and public health. As we’ve seen in our communities, unchecked methane emissions contribute to climate change and pose serious health risks, especially in marginalized areas. This is a big step towards correcting historical neglect and ensuring a cleaner, healthier future for all.”

“Investing in projects and programs that significantly reduce methane emissions is an important priority to slow the harmful effects of climate change,” said Ryan Peay, Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Resource Sustainability in DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management. “The grants awarded today facilitate critical partnerships between states and the oil and gas sector, addressing a key source of these emissions while generating substantial climate, health, and economic benefits for local communities nationwide.”

“On the heels of EPA’s final standards to protect communities from methane pollution, today we’re proud to partner with the Department of Energy to announce critical funds to aid states and industry in addressing methane emissions under the Methane Emissions Reduction Program,” said Jennifer Macedonia, EPA Associate Deputy Assistant Administrator in the Office of Air and Radiation. “Through these historic investments in America, EPA and DOE are working with states to improve the efficiency and economic competitiveness of U.S. oil and gas operations and create new jobs in energy communities, while realizing near-term emissions reductions that protect people and the planet.”

Earlier this year, Congresswoman Summer Lee, who serves on the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee introduced the Bipartisan Abandon Well Remediation Act with Congresswoman Stephanie Rice (R-OK-12) to address the impact of methane emissions from abandoned oil and gas wells by creating an abandoned wells research, development, and demonstration program at the Department of Energy (DOE).

In the United States, 30 percent of methane emissions come from the oil and gas sector, which increasingly has tools to slash leaks. Methane is a climate “super pollutant” that is many times more potent than carbon dioxide and is responsible for approximately one third of the warming from greenhouse gases occurring today. Rapid, sharp cuts in methane can generate near immediate climate benefits and are a crucial addition to cutting carbon dioxide in slowing the rate of warming of Earth’s atmosphere. 

Through these investments, the Methane Emissions Reduction Program will help industry reduce waste, create new jobs in energy communities and realize near-term emission reductions – helping reach the nation’s ambitious climate and clean air goals. Monitoring and mitigating methane emissions from the oil and gas sector will benefit energy communities, which often include low-income and communities of color, and deliver long-lasting health and environmental benefits across the country. This commitment supports the Biden-Harris Administration’s ambitious environmental justice agenda through the Justice40 Initiative, which set the goal that 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain covered Federal investments flow to disadvantaged or Justice40 communities.

Once all legal and administrative requirements are satisfied, funding received through the Methane Emissions Reduction Program will provide a combination of technical and financial assistance to states to help well owners and operators voluntarily identify and eliminate methane emissions from low-producing conventional oil and gas wells, also referred to as marginal conventional wells, with disproportionately high methane emissions. States can also use the funding to support environmental restoration of well sites and monitor the sites to verify that plugged wells are no longer emitting methane. EPA and DOE will also provide technical assistance to help states, industry, and other partners to implement cost-effective solutions to monitor and reduce methane emissions from these wells.

Visit EPA and DOE websites for more information about the Methane Emissions Reduction Program.


Since taking office in January, Lee, who serves on the House Oversight Committee and Space, Science and Technology Committee, has delivered historic levels of federal investment totaling nearly $1 Billion brought back to Western PA, including over $200 million for infrastructure, over $50 million for affordable transit, and over $500 million to keep clean energy manufacturing at home in Pennsylvania. These investments will help improve Western Pennsylvania’s infrastructure and transit, ensure cleaner air and drinking water, lower housing costs, fund research institutions, fuel clean manufacturing, fund STEM innovation and entrepreneurship, boost workforce development, and create thousands of good paying union jobs.  Lee and her team have also delivered casework and constituent services to over 1,380 constituents with issues ranging from helping our seniors and disabled community access Medicare and social security to helping folks secure housing and helping families with immigration support and passports. 

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