Our MERP Moment
Langan Mitigates Fugitive Methane, Remediates Orphaned Wells, and Supports Landfill Redevelopment
Methane’s time may have come. Long overlooked when compared to other greenhouse gases affecting our climate, the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 has provisions to reduce methane emissions. While the legislation is heavily focused on methane emissions in the oil, gas, and chemical industries, it also addresses methane from municipal and industrial landfills. These provisions will likely lead to modifications to production and processing operations, and more opportunities to redevelop land with methane challenges.
The Methane Emissions Reduction Program (MERP) appropriates $1.55B to the EPA, with more than half to establish programs and financial assistance for owners and operators of facilities that emit greenhouse gases, including methane. The remaining funding will be dedicated to improved management of oil and gas wells.
Additionally, MERP will impose a charge on oil and gas sources, a so-called methane pollution penalty, which increases year over year: $900/ton in 2024; $1,200/ton in 2025; and $1,500/ton in 2026. Clearly the intent is to incentivize operators to manage and reduce methane emissions around the country as quickly as possible.
“Our environmental practice has handled methane mitigation on many oil and gas wells and pipelines with fugitive leaks, so we see the funding in this bill as an opportunity for clients to continue implementing superior monitoring and tracking methods to decrease their carbon footprint,” said Cory Lavoie, Associate, Langan. “Furthermore, we expect to support more abandoned sites, particularly landfills, which can be redeveloped with sophisticated methane mitigation systems into more beneficial uses like warehouse/industrial, solar energy, or even residential. And in some cases we can simply restore sites back to their natural state.”