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U.S., India to Form Coal Methane Information Center

Release Date: 11/16/2006
Contact Information: Roxanne Smith, (202) 564-4355 / smith.roxanne@epa.gov

(Washington D.C. - Nov. 16, 2006) The Methane to Markets Partnership is establishing a clearinghouse that will act as a central point of information on coalbed and coal mine methane projects in India, the world's third largest coal producing country. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, with other federal partners, is providing assistance in the development of the information center.

"This clearinghouse will provide valuable information to potential investors and project developers interested in coalbed and coal mine methane projects in India," said William L. Wehrum, EPA's acting assistant administrator for Air and Radiation and chair of the Methane to Markets Steering Committee. "This commitment represents yet another initiative between the United States and India that will support clean development and energy security."

The clearinghouse will be the initial point of contact for domestic and international investors and will effectively promote the development of coalbed and coal mine methane projects in India. EPA has successfully established coalbed methane clearinghouses in several other countries including China, Russia, and Ukraine.

"India and the U.S. are working together to strengthen our collaboration and diversify our efforts to effectively use all of our energy resources," said Ambassador Jassal, deputy chief of mission, Embassy of India. "The clearinghouse will help us to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase our energy generating capacity, and to increase private investment, both foreign and domestic."

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that can be recovered and used as a clean energy source. Coalbed methane is methane contained in coal seams. Coal mine methane refers to gas that is released from the coal seams during the process of coal mining. Methane in coal seams presents a critical danger for mine safety as it can cause explosions.

The Methane to Markets Partnership, launched by President Bush in November 2004, is a public-private partnership to advance methane recovery and use projects in four sectors: agriculture, coal mines, landfills, and oil and natural gas systems. More than 350 organizations from around the world have made commitments to this partnership. The United States has committed up to $53 million to this initiative over the next five years.

Information about the Methane to Markets Partnership: epa.gov/methanetomarkets