"The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is readying its first-ever restrictions on methane emissions and planning to press pipeline companies on the issue in the coming months, marking a significant shift for a federal agency traditionally focused on safety and oil spills.
PHMSA was given a broad new responsibility by Congress to limit greenhouse gas emissions, and the "thousands" of inquiries it’s planning to make to companies about their methane emissions this year will be some of the earliest tangible signs of that mandate.
"Congress was very clear that we must not just reduce these emissions, but we must do all we can to minimize these emissions," Tristan Brown, PHMSA’s deputy administrator, said in a speech late last year.
In late 2020, Congress ordered pipeline companies to update their inspections and maintenance plans to find ways to reduce methane emissions. It ordered PHMSA to check those plans with inspections."