The investigation Science Committee staff — based on internal data from oil and gas companies — found that companies are “failing to design, equip and inform” their methane leakage activities, noting that the sector’s approach “does not reflect the latest scientific evidence on methane leaks.”
Science Committee Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, a Texas Democrat, said at a Wednesday committee hearing the investigation found that companies are “failing to address super-emitting methane leaks, deflecting the use of methane quantification data, and deploying mitigating methane detection technologies too slowly and too inconsistently.”
“Unfortunately, the oil and gas sector has a long way to go to rein in methane leaks,” Bernice Johnson said.
Infrared cameras and advanced satellites can capture methane emissions around the globe, giving scientists and regulators insight into their true emissions.
At Wednesday’s hearing, however, many Republicans in the committee expressed concerns about the Biden administration’s new methane rule and instead, hailed the progress that has been made due to new technologies, comparing the US to other countries.
“We’re producing more energy with fewer emissions, and much like our reductions in carbon dioxide, innovation has and will continue to be the better driver of action and regulatory regulations or prohibitions,” said Rep. Frank Lucas of Oklahoma. “Simply put, we don’t need the tax or a ban methane in anyway. We simply need to cut red tape and allow the energy, agricultural and waste industries to use the breakthrough technologies being developed and refined every day.”
Witnesses at the hearing including scientists and methane detection technology experts say the US remains to be one the highest methane-emitting countries in the world, but that it could also be a leader by addressing methane emissions and the climate crisis at large.