Governor Brown Signs Law to Find and Fix Natural Gas Leaks

State will require utilities to reduce environmental and public health impacts of methane gas emissions

September 22, 2014


Media Contacts:
Timothy O’Connor, (916) 549-8423,
Julie Dixon, (415) 302-6089,

(SACRAMENTO, California) Yesterday, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law groundbreaking legislation to reduce methane pollution caused by leaks in the state’s aging natural gas pipelines. Methane is the primary ingredient in natural gas and is a potent climate-destabilizing pollutant.

According to Tim O’Connor, Director of EDF’s California Climate Initiative, “This is a huge step towards the build-out of a comprehensive strategy in California to reduce methane pollution. Implementing policies to curb the loss of a valuable resource is good for both California’s environment and our economy.”

California is the nation’s second largest consumer of natural gas, with over 100,000 miles of pipes and other equipment delivering natural gas to customers across the state. Given the documented widespread nature of leaks within the vast system, the Governor’s support reinforces California’s leadership in reducing emissions that contribute to climate change, with the added benefit of eliminating waste of a critical energy resource. So-called “fugitive” emissions can equate to millions of dollars of lost gas that Californians end up paying for in their monthly utility bills. 

The new law specifically directs the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to develop and implement a comprehensive natural gas pipelines leak reduction strategy that ensures the quick and efficient repair of leaks.

California now joins other state and federal efforts to mitigate methane emissions. Colorado adopted direct methane regulations in February, while earlier this year the White House released a national methane reduction strategy. As part of this strategy, EPA is on track to decide this fall how to best pursue additional methane reductions from the oil and gas sector, and the California Air Resources Board is also considering new methane regulations for oil and gas development.

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