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Reducing Methane (CH4) Emissions from Natural Gas Distribution Mains & Services (310 CMR 7.73)

MassDEP has imposed annually-declining methane (CH4) emission limits on Massachusetts gas operators in 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024 under the Global Warming Solutions Act.

News & Updates

December 2020

MassDEP promulgated the emergency regulation 310 CMR 7.73 Reducing Methane Emissions from Natural Gas Distribution Mains and Services on December 21, 2020. The emergency regulation:

  • Establishes gas operator annual declining emission limits for 2021, 2022, 2023, and 2024; 
  • Streamlines the petition process by which gas operators may petition for reserve cap; and
  • Requires gas operators to categorize their pipeline mileage by age and material type in their annual reports to MassDEP.

310 CMR 7.73: Emergency Regulation (Showing Changes)
Technical Support Document (TSD)
TSD Appendices (spreadsheet)
Notice: English | Español | 中文 | 繁體中文 | Kreyòl Ayisyen | Português Tiếng Việt
Virtual Public Hearing: January 19, 2021
Public Comment Period: Ends January 29, 2021

September 2020

As required by 310 CMR 7.73(9) MassDEP is performing a program review focusing on the requirements of 310 CMR 7.73. The review is evaluating whether the agency should amend or extend the regulation to future years, as well as other information relevant to the program.

The agency presented an overview of this effort and accepted public comment both at a virtual stakeholder meeting on September 10, 2020, and through the end of the comment period on September 18, 2020.

See Additional Resources below for the presentation MassDEP gave during the online session, stakeholder comments received, and natural gas utility responses to an agency request for pipeline and service data.

Additional Resources for

Regulatory Requirements

310 CMR 7.73, promulgated on December 21, 2020,  requires each gas operator with a Gas System Enhancement Plan (GSEP) order from the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) to annually report emissions from the total miles of mains and service pipelines by material type, and to report the total miles of mains and service pipelines by material type and age. GSEPs detail schedules for replacement of older leak-prone distribution system pipes for each gas operator.

Additional Resources for

Annual Reporting

Gas operators are required to submit a form and spreadsheet to MassDEP by April 15 of each year for the previous calendar year. These documents are currently being updated.

Completed documents (or requests for these materials in alternate formats) should be emailed to Sue Ann Richardson.