Administration unveils actions to curb methane emissions

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced new actions Tuesday aimed at curbing methane emissions form the nation's natural gas systems.

The new executive actions will set efficiency standards for natural gas compressors, expand research on manufacturing, establish incentives for modernizing infrastructure, and accelerate investments for new, and repaired natural gas distribution networks.

"These benefits include job creation through pipeline and other equipment replacement, cost recovery for infrastructure investments that increase safety and save energy, and opportunities for addressing climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions," Moniz said in a statement on Tuesday.

Moniz's announcement coincided with new actions by the administration on providing tools to the agriculture sector that will better help mitigate the impacts of climate change.

The executive actions were backed by a report released Tuesday from the White House Council of Economic Advisers, which is meant to strengthen the president's hand as the Environmental Protection Agency heads to battle on his signature climate regulation.

Obama has touted natural gas the "bridge fuel" to help fight climate change but environmentalists are pushing for regulations on methane emissions, a potent greenhouse gas.

During a methane roundtable with Moniz on Tuesday, industry groups detailed that natural gas utilities spend over $19 billion annually to enhance the safety of natural gas infrastructure.