PHMSA opens applications for nearly $200M in Natural Gas Distribution Infrastructure Safety and Modernization grants

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The U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) recently began soliciting applications for nearly $200 million in grants as part of a first-of-its-kind program established under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law of 2021.

That money, as part of the Natural Gas Distribution Infrastructure Safety and Modernization program, will work to reduce safety risks and methane emissions from high-risk and leak-prone older natural gas distribution pipes. The program has already provided nearly $600 million in funding to help the industry to date.

Past projects have included efforts like the Richmond Gas Works push to replace more than 42 miles of cast-iron, ductile iron and steel natural gas mains, which earned it $49 million. For this opportunity, though, money will be open to all municipal or community-owned utilities seeking help to repair, rehabilitate or replace natural gas distribution infrastructure. For-profit entities cannot apply.

“Under the Biden-Harris Administration, we’re making critical infrastructure updates in every region of the United States—and this work includes repairing and replacing corroded and outdated natural gas pipes that in some instances have been underground for over a century,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said. “The round of grants we are opening today will help reduce methane pollution and make it possible for over 100 communities to access safer, more reliable energy and potentially lower energy bills.”

PHMSA Deputy Administrator Tristan Brown added that he has seen huge interest from rural, urban, and tribal communities for the program.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) noted that methane has nearly 80 times the global warming potential as CO2, and that this work will reduce its risks. Along the way, it could also create jobs and reduce overall energy costs.