Impactful Action on America's Invisible Problem

This week, President Obama sent a powerful message about America's commitment to curbing emissions. It's action that ranks up there with the U.S. Climate Action Plan, the Clean Power Plan and vehicle standards that will double American fuel economy by 2030. The first pledge of its kind to regulate methane, the Obama administration has set a goal to reduce methane emissions up to 45 percent across the energy sector from 2012 levels by 2025.

Methane leaks are an invisible but significant problem, accounting for up to 10 percent of our total greenhouse gas emissions. Many cities and states have taken action to curb wasteful -- and harmful -- methane leaks. However, until now a national methane strategy -- and the resources that come along with it -- have been the missing piece.

Achieving the administration's goal could save the natural gas equivalent to 33 million tons of carbon pollution per year, and take additional action to reduce methane emissions not only in the energy sector but across the U.S. economy. Yesterday's announcement is an important first-step in addressing the significant problem of methane emissions.

The BlueGreen Alliance and our partners have been deeply engaged in working toward this policy -- including establishing a joint partner position calling for a federal methane reduction plan, publishing a full-page ad in the Washington Post, and publishing a groundbreaking report showing how tackling methane emissions now could benefit both our economy and environment.

The report mentioned above was released by BlueGreen Alliance and AFL-CIO this summer -- Interconnected - The Economic and Climate Change Benefits of Accelerating Repair and Replacement of America's Natural Gas Distribution Pipelines -- and it found that by accelerating the repair and replacement of the distribution pipelines to a 10-year window versus the status quo, 313,000 jobs could be created for American workers.

Methane is a potent source of emissions, and taking steps to reduce these emissions is a substantial opportunity to put American workers squarely at the forefront of developing, manufacturing, and implementing these technologies -- creating and sustaining high-quality jobs and stimulating local economies.

Our partner policy on methane recognizes that, by using current technology, we could cut up to half of our methane emissions across the energy sector in five years. Achieving the reductions announced in the president's blueprint brings us closer to realizing the vast potential of American workers and technology to move the U.S. to a clean energy economy. As this methane plan moves from the drawing board to reality, we need to ensure we get maximum emissions reductions while building a stronger economy at the same time.