How do we stop natural gas leaks?
Please help tackle two big challenges: Finding leaks and funding repairs
The natural gas pipelines in the U.S. could circle the planet nearly 100 times. In a system that big, leaks are a persistent challenge, with significant implications for our climate.
We have detailed recommendations, but the basic challenges are straightforward, and you can help tackle them.
1. Map leaks in more places
With the methods developed in this pilot project, it’s possible to identify and prioritize leaks far more quickly than before. And Google Earth Outreach’s mapping tools are a powerful way to visualize the scale of leaks, showing the urgent problem and the efforts by utilities to address it.
Our maps show leaks found at the time of our survey. We encourage utilities to regularly publish their own updated leak maps to show where they have made repairs, and where new leaks are found.
If your area’s leaks haven’t been mapped, nominate it! This helps us plan where to map next, and shows local utility companies and regulators that you support reducing leaks. (If your city is part of the pilot, see your city page for next steps.)
2. Speak up for improvements
We have to repair and prevent leaks. But once public safety is addressed it can be hard for utilities and state regulators to make the remaining leaks a priority—even though they pack a big punch for climate change. Leaks occur across the natural gas supply chain, from the well site to pipes under local streets. Some states and some companies are taking action. A national policy to reduce methane leaks everywhere would ensure that all sectors of the natural gas industry are doing their part to reduce pollution.
Fortunately, it’s an issue the Obama administration is tackling. In 2015 the White House announced the first-ever plans for a federal requirement to directly limit methane emissions, unlocking a new, untapped opportunity to reduce climate pollution.
That’s where you come in: You can voice support for rules on methane leaks by sending a letter to the EPA.