Urge Secretary Buttigieg to Finalize the Gas Pipeline Leak Detection and Repair Rule! - Waterkeeper

Urge Secretary Buttigieg to Finalize the Gas Pipeline Leak Detection and Repair Rule!

By: Thomas Hynes

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has proposed an Advanced Leak Detection and Repair Rule to address unintended leaks and intentional releases from the more than 2.7 million miles of gas pipelines across the country. This would help better protect our climate and waterways, as well as the health and safety of our communities.

The goal of this
new regulation is to dramatically lower emissions of methane, the most climate destructive greenhouse gas, as well as other air pollutants that threaten public safety. For the sake of our communities and our climate, we must urge U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg to act immediately on this critical rule which was first proposed by the Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (“PHMSA”) in May 2023. The public comment period on this rule-making closed way back on August 16, 2023. There is no good reason for further delay!

Will you join us and leave your own personalized comment today in favor of this badly needed pipeline rule? 

Pipeline leaks not only cause harm to public health and the environment, but they also have disproportionate negative impacts on frontline communities. Peer-reviewed research estimates that potent greenhouse gas methane emissions from leaks on gas distribution systems are five times greater than currently estimated. Frontline communities are more likely to be impacted by these leaks because distribution pipelines tend to be located at higher densities in their neighborhoods.

PHMSA’s proposed rule would increase the frequency of leak surveys, establish standards and timelines for repair, deploy more effective solutions, and ensure transparency and accountability. Currently, only 20,000 miles of the 435,000 miles of U.S. pipelines are required to conduct regular leak surveys. What’s more, the technology to better detect leaks already exists, and implementing these standards could create a swath of well-paying jobs.

We will not meet our climate goals while undetected and unaddressed pipeline leaks – which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates comprise a third of the U.S. fossil fuel industry’s methane emissions – continue to poison our atmosphere.

Secretary Buttigieg has the opportunity to lead and deliver on this win for climate and public safety by directing his agency to finalize this much-needed rule without further delay. Now is the time to do all we can to better protect our communities and our waterways from the health and climate impacts caused by pipeline methane leaks, already affecting both water quantity and quality across the U.S.

That is why we are urging Secretary Buttigieg to finalize this rule NOW.

Leave your own comment today in favor of healthier communities and waterways and a liveable climate. We ask that you personalize the first sentence of your public comment.