Funds Bolster New York’s Ongoing Efforts to Reduce Methane Emissions and Protect Ground and Surface Waters
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy awarded New York State $8 million from the Methane Emissions Reduction Program. The funds, included in the Inflation Reduction Act, bolster New York’s ongoing efforts to help reduce climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions from oil and gas infrastructure, as well as protect ground and surface waters.
“New Yorkers are feeling the impacts of climate change all across the State, and in response we are taking bold action and building a stronger, more resilient New York with the help of record State and Federal resources,” Governor Hochul said. “The Biden-Harris Administration and our federal partners are recognizing the importance of reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions through the Methane Emissions Reduction Program, and strengthening New York’s commitment to confronting the existential threat of climate change head on.”
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer said, “Upstate New York, from the Southern Tier and Central New York to Western New York and the Finger Lakes, has long been plagued by orphaned oil and gas wells creating hidden hazards that pollute our backyards, drinking water sources, and worsen climate change. Now, thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act that I championed, New York will receive $8 million to reduce noxious methane pollution from these wells. I am proud to deliver this major federal investment to help fight climate change and ensure that municipalities do not have to take on the full financial burden to clean up the polluting remnants of the fossil fuel industry in Upstate NY.”
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said, “Reducing methane emissions is vital to combating the impacts of climate change. This federal funding will help bolster New York State’s ongoing efforts to reduce methane emissions in the oil and gas sector and protect water quality for countless New Yorkers. I am proud to see this federal funding going to create a cleaner environment for New Yorkers and will continue to fight to bring federal dollars home to combat climate change.”
U.S. Department of Energy Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy and Carbon Management Brad Crabtree said, “New York State is a leader in the nationwide effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Thanks to President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, states like New York can do even more to slash harmful pollution and take an important step in slowing the devastating impacts of climate change.”
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 2 Administrator Lisa F. Garcia said, “New York is leading the way in tackling climate change by reducing methane emissions from oil and gas wells. Thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, the largest federal climate investment in history, this $8 million in funding demonstrates the commitment by EPA and New York State to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect our essential water resources. By plugging oil and gas wells and preventing methane leaks, we are eliminating a major source of pollution and protecting the health and safety of all New Yorkers.”
The $8 million in federal funds will be used to further the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) efforts to monitor and mitigate methane emissions from the oil and gas sector as the State works to plug wells with a focus on wells with individual landowners listed as operators. The funds are part of $350 million awarded to 14 states that will help measure and reduce methane emissions, one of the biggest drivers of climate change. The funding, which is made possible by President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act — the largest federal climate investment in history — will help New York and other states support industry efforts to cut methane emissions from active wells and support environmental restoration of well sites.
The Methane Emissions Reduction Program also provides a combination of technical and financial assistance to New York 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.
Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “Under Governor Kathy Hochul’s leadership, and with the help of our federal partners, New York is advancing a just transition to clean energy that creates good jobs and supports a green economy for the future. Curbing methane from the oil and gas sector is critical to New York’s progress in implementing the Climate Act and reaching our emissions reduction milestones. DEC thanks President Biden, EPA Administrator Regan and Regional Administrator Garcia, and DOE Secretary Granholm for this significant $8 million investment in New York’s ongoing methane reduction initiatives.”
The federal funding announced today complements New York’s many steps to reduce emissions of methane and other greenhouse gases. In 2022, Governor Hochul announced finalized regulations that require significant reductions in methane and other harmful emissions from any oil and natural gas infrastructure in New York State. The regulations marked a milestone in realizing the State’s nation-leading clean energy and climate agenda by reducing methane emissions by more than 14,000 metric tons per year and volatile organic compound emissions by more than 2,000 tons per year. In addition, regulations in 2020 establish limits requiring that statewide emissions of methane and other greenhouse gases be reduced 40 percent by 2030, 85 percent by 2050, including emissions associated with imported electricity and fossil fuels.
Earlier this year, Governor Hochul announced the completion of the first gas well safely plugged with funding from a $25 million federal grant to New York State through the landmark Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. New York State is working with landowners to plug aging and abandoned oil and natural gas wells to protect public safety, help reduce methane and other climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions.
New York State’s Nation-Leading Climate Plan
New York State’s nation-leading climate agenda calls for an orderly and just transition that creates family-sustaining jobs, continues to foster a green economy across all sectors and ensures that at least 35 percent, with a goal of 40 percent, of the benefits of clean energy investments are directed to disadvantaged communities. Guided by some of the nation’s most aggressive climate and clean energy initiatives, New York is on a path to achieving a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, including 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030, and economywide carbon neutrality by mid-century. A cornerstone of this transition is New York’s unprecedented clean energy investments, including more than $52 billion in 118 large-scale renewable and transmission projects across the state, $6.8 billion to reduce building emissions, $3.3 billion to scale up solar, nearly $3 billion for clean transportation initiatives, and over $2 billion in NY Green Bank commitments. These and other investments are supporting more than 165,000 jobs in New York’s clean energy sector in 2021 and over 3,000 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011. To reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality, New York also adopted zero-emission vehicle regulations, including requiring all new passenger cars and light-duty trucks sold in the State be zero emission by 2035. Partnerships are continuing to advance New York’s climate action with nearly 400 registered and more than 100 certified Climate Smart Communities, nearly 500 Clean Energy Communities, and the State’s largest community air monitoring initiative in 10 disadvantaged communities across the state to help target air pollution and combat climate change.