Last updated: June 05. 2013 11:52PM - 2408 Views

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WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency’s Inspector General plans to investigate what actions are being taken to reduce methane leaks from natural gas pipelines.

The IG says in a memo dated Monday that it will review data and interview EPA staff, environmental groups, industry associations and scientists. There’s no estimate of when the investigation will be complete.

In April the EPA lowered its estimates of natural gas leaks but some scientists questioned the figures. The issue is important because natural gas emits far less pollution than coal when burned.

\, but those benefits can be offset by leaks of methane, which is a potent greenhouse gas.

A previous IG report found that unreliable estimates on air pollution from natural gas production hinder EPA efforts to police the recent boom in drilling.

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