Eleni Kounalakis, Lieutenant Governor, Chair
Malia M. Cohen, California State Controller, Member
Joe Stephenshaw, Director of the Department of Finance, Member
Sheri Pemberton, Chief of External Affairs
916.477.0691 | Sheri.Pemberton@slc.ca.gov
For Immediate Release: December 15, 2023
The award, funded through the federal Inflation Reduction Act, is part of a program to help tackle the climate crisis, create good-paying jobs, and reduce air pollution.
SACRAMENTO – The Biden administration awarded the California State Lands Commission a nearly $22 million grant to monitor and reduce methane emissions from oil and gas operations and for environmental restoration of well sites.
Methane emissions from oil and gas wells are one of the biggest drivers of climate change. The nearly $22 million the Commission received today is part of $350 million in funding under the Inflation Reduction Act to mitigate methane emissions from marginal oil and gas wells. Marginal wells are outsized contributors to methane pollution. They account for only six percent of oil and gas production in the U.S. but over half of well site methane emissions.
“Many of California’s most disadvantaged communities have long felt the harmful effects of methane emissions from the oil and gas sector,” said Lieutenant Governor and Commission Chair Eleni Kounalakis. “Thanks to this funding from the Biden Administration, California will be able to reduce methane emissions from the highest emitting oil and gas wells—bringing us closer to achieving our goal of carbon neutrality by 2045.”
In August 2023, the federal government announced up to $350 million in grant funding under the Inflation Reduction Act to mitigate emissions from marginal conventional wells. The Commission applied on the state’s behalf. The funding, part of the Methane Emissions Reduction Program, provides $1.55 billion to states to monitor methane emissions and reduce methane and other greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas sector with the co-benefit of reducing non-greenhouse gas emissions such as volatile organic compounds and hazardous air pollutants. States can use the funding to improve and deploy equipment, support innovation, permanently reduce methane emissions from low-producing conventional wells, mitigate health effects in low-income and disadvantaged communities, improve climate resiliency, support environmental restoration, and mitigate legacy air pollution.
“I am deeply committed to climate change adaptation and a clean energy future, and am proud of what this Commission is doing to benefit future generations of Californians,” said Malia M. Cohen, State Controller and Commissioner. “The funding we received today will make a real difference—it will improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, especially in underserved communities. I look forward to the Commission’s continued leadership as it leverages this funding to reduce methane emissions from oil and gas operations.”
The grant funding will enable the Commission to work with oil and gas operators to plug and abandon marginal conventional wells on non-federal lands, measure and monitor methane emissions, and restore well sites. The Commission will identify wells that have the most liabilities to the state, especially those on public lands, and prioritize wells by location and proximity to disadvantaged communities. The grant requires a minimum of 40% of the funding to be used to implement the program in low-income and disadvantaged communities in compliance with the federal government’s Justice 40 Initiative.
About the Commission: The Commission, comprised of the Lieutenant Governor, State Controller, and Governor’s Director of Finance, manages over 4 million acres of tide and submerged lands and the beds of navigable waterways. The Commission administers the state’s coastal hazard and legacy well removal and remediation program. The Commission is a leader in the fight against climate change and transitioning away from fossil fuel to clean energy, managing a portfolio of renewable energy leases and working to bring offshore wind energy to California.