Representative Sherrill Introduces Legislation to Prevent Methane Leaks

Replacing Distribution Pipelines Critical to Fight Methane Emissions that Contribute to Climate Change

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Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill

PARSIPPANY — Representative Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) and Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE-At Large) introduced H.R. 5542, the Mitigate Methane Now Act, legislation to encourage the replacement of old, home distribution pipelines which are a major source of methane leakage across the country and to help mitigate climate change immediately.

New Jersey is home to some of the oldest natural gas infrastructure in the country. These aging pipes that bring natural gas to New Jersey homes leak harmful gases like methane into our atmosphere. Methane is 100 times more potent than carbon dioxide – and though a relatively short living gas, it’s effect on warming the climate cannot be understated: the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) reports that methane is more than 80 times as effective at trapping heat than carbon dioxide, making it a prime culprit for our warming temperatures.

States through the Northeast have been working with their utility commissions to strategize on how to replace these old and leaking pipes. Typically, costs of essential pipeline repair and replacement are passed on to consumers. This bill will help ensure that lower- and fixed-income consumers are protected from increases in their monthly bill when these important repairs and modernization efforts occur. H.R. 5542 provides money to states to offset rate increases for low-income consumers.

“New Jersey’s aging infrastructure is an issue for our families and our environment,” said Representative Sherrill. “While there is interest in our communities to accelerate the replacement of worn distribution pipelines for safety, reliability, and environmental benefits, a variety of barriers exist, including cost. Our bill will help replace old pipelines, mitigate methane emissions, and have an immediate effect on our efforts to tackle climate change.”

“I am proud to introduce this legislation today with Rep. Sherrill. Repairing and replacing old, leak-prone infrastructure in the natural gas distribution system will protect our communities from potentially dangerous explosions, save consumers money, and reduce potent methane emissions that fuel climate change,” said Representative Blunt Rochester, a member of the House Energy & Commerce Energy Subcommittee. “This bill is good for the environment, good for our economy, and good for Delaware.”