WASHINGTON (March 28, 2014) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), chair of the U.S. Senate Climate Change Clearinghouse, released the following statement after the Obama administration released their blueprint for reducing methane emissions, a major contributor to climate change, as part of their broader Climate Action Plan:

“We cannot answer the climate challenge without dealing with methane, which is a powerful heat trapping gas. I commend the Obama administration for recognizing this fact and developing a plan to move forward. I look forward to working with the administration to more fully develop these strategies, especially with regard to our nation’s crumbling natural gas distribution system. The natural gas pipelines snaking under our streets and through our neighborhoods in many parts of the country are still century-old cast iron and bare steel. They’re leaking at rates that are draining consumers’ pocketbooks, damaging our climate, and, in some cases, endangering lives and property.”     

Senator Markey recently introduced two bills, S.1767 and S. 1768, that would accelerate the repair and replacement of America’s aging natural distribution pipelines. One bill would require states to consider adopting policies to address leaks, like placing limits on the amount of leaked and unaccounted for gas that utilities can charge to unknowing consumers. The other would create a pool of money to help local governments and utilities finance pipeline repair projects, modeled after extremely successful federal water infrastructure financing programs.