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Energy Tomorrow Blog

The High Cost of Singling Out Pipelines in NWP 12 Ruling

pipelines  permitting  environmental review 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted June 24, 2020

As the U.S. Supreme Court weighs a request to delay a lower-court decision to exclude “construction of new oil and natural gas pipelines” from a key federal permitting program, it’s clear the district court’s ruling could seriously harm projects that are critical to strengthening U.S. energy infrastructure.

As many as 75 pipelines in various stages of development could be impacted after last month’s ruling by a federal judge in Montana, who said the Nationwide Permit 12 program (NWP 12) can’t be used for constructing new natural gas and oil pipelines – singling them out among other utility projects that remain NWP 12 eligible. One issue with the district court ruling is that it doesn’t define “pipeline” or what may be covered. The 75 pipelines referred to here include pipelines to deliver natural gas, crude oil and natural gas liquids.

The affected capital investment can be measured in the billions of dollars. Publicly available estimates for the capital costs of just 11 of the 75 projects could exceed $32 billion, which could support nearly 480,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs.

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NEPA Reform Needed to Improve Local Infrastructure

environmental review  infrastructure  permit delays 

Sam Winstel

Sam Winstel
Posted February 24, 2020

The nation’s infrastructure needs some love.

To reverse the deteriorating state of the U.S. transportation, communication and energy supply networks – which recently earned a D+ from the American Society of Civil Engineers – we need a national commitment to more purposefully and efficiently get important projects off the drawing board and into development. Without it, America’s ability to compete in the 21st-century economy will be hindered.

As we’ve discussed (here and here), proposed reforms to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) are critical to accelerating much-needed infrastructure improvements in every state and, in turn, creating good-paying jobs and spurring economic growth. Review processes under NEPA – which was last updated in 1978 – have significantly impeded infrastructure progress, delaying projects for years and years.

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For NEPA Reform in Colorado & Across the U.S.

environmental review  infrastructure  colorado  pipeline expansion 

Sam Winstel

Sam Winstel
Posted February 12, 2020

You won’t find better examples of how the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) has blocked much-needed infrastructure than in Colorado – where the first of two public hearings on implementing the regulation was held this week.

Numerous projects in Colorado have been – or are currently – on-hold due to NEPA reviews, including the Interstate-70 widening near Denver that will deliver much-needed safety and capacity improvements for drivers. The Environmental Impact Statement for this highway took 13 years to complete and totaled nearly 16,000 pages, finally receiving construction approval in 2017.

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What’s the Hold Up? On Key Infrastructure, Too Often It’s NEPA

infrastructure  environmental review  environmental impact statements 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted January 30, 2020

Further down in this post take a look at just a few of the important U.S. infrastructure projects that have been held up by the review processes directed by the current National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

As noted in Sam Winstel’s post earlier this month, NEPA reform proposals recently offered by the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) are sorely needed. Some of the projects below are not just years on hold, but decades. And NEPA affects all kinds of infrastructure development, not just our industry’s projects. House Democrats, who just unveiled a multi-billion-dollar infrastructure proposal this week, should take note.   

CEQ proposals would improve NEPA permitting and approval processes on energy and other vital infrastructure projects while still ensuring the appropriate environmental assessments and protections are undertaken.

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Safety and Environmental Protection are at API’s Core

api standards program  environmental review  safety standards 

Debra Phillips

Debra Phillips
Posted January 28, 2020

A major part of API’s core mission is the development of industry standards that enhance safety and environmental protection at oil and natural gas facilities both in the U.S. and around the world.

API CEO Mike Sommers underscored this important point in releasing the State of American Energy 2020 report earlier this month. "Today, U.S. energy development is safer than it’s ever been, in part, thanks to API’s world-class standards," Sommers said. "From foundational offshore safety to pipeline leak detection, API standards drive safety, environmental protection, and sustainability. Not only here in the United States, but across the world.”

API has published over 700 standards and best-in-class operational practices since it was founded 100 years ago. In 2019 alone, API introduced 90 safety standards, underscoring our commitment to a safer workplace for workers and their communities, and environmental protection.

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Trump's NEPA Reform Is Essential For Energy Development

environmental review  energy development  infrastructure 

General Counsel Paul Afonso

Paul Afonso
Posted January 27, 2020

This article originally appeared in Law360.

The White House Council on Environmental Quality’s proposed update to the procedural regulations under the National Environmental Policy Act[1] offers an opportunity to unleash the infrastructure required for sustainable 21st century energy.

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NEPA Reform Provides Foundation for Energy Progress

environmental review  infrastructure  pipeline expansion 

Sam Winstel

Sam Winstel
Posted January 9, 2020

Today, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) proposed reforms to regulations that implement the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which stand to improve the permitting and approval processes for energy and other infrastructure projects across the U.S. By streamlining federal regulations, businesses and government agencies can develop new infrastructure that generates good-paying jobs, spurs economic growth and protects the environment.

America’s robust, state-of-the-art energy infrastructure allows natural gas and oil producers to safely and seamlessly deliver affordable fuels to consumers. The nation’s complex and extensive network of pipelines, roads, railways, ports and export terminals is fundamental to our energy and environmental progress. Expanding and upgrading this system ensures that abundant, homegrown energy will continue to reach American households, businesses and trading partners – but unnecessary, expensive and time-consuming regulations have delayed this critical build-out.

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Key to Infrastructure Plan is Streamlined Reviews

infrastructure  pipelines  technology  permitting  environmental review 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted February 13, 2018

Perhaps the most important aspect of the administration’s infrastructure plan is taking steps to ensure that infrastructure happens – by streamlining federal reviews and permitting processes. It simply takes too long for energy projects to get approvals and permits, creating uncertainty that can hinder private investment in infrastructure that benefits consumers, manufacturers and the entire economy.

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Bill Would Help Strengthen U.S. Energy Infrastructure

natural gas pipelines  environmental review  consumers  natural gas benefits  natural gas access 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted September 21, 2017

For a number of months we’ve been talking about the need for more efficient and predictable federal processes for the permitting of energy infrastructure – including new natural gas pipelines and added capacity. New, bipartisan legislation introduced this week in the U.S. Senate is latest move in that direction.

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Time to Stop Talking – Time To Build

keystone xl pipeline  infrastructure  economic growth  state department  president obama  environmental review  canadian oil sands 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted January 13, 2015

The federal approval process for cross-border pipelines (and there are many) historically has taken 18 to 24 months, yet the White House says that more than six years isn't enough time to determine whether the Keystone XL pipeline is in the national interest.

Perhaps the State Department can help them out with analysis that argues that infrastructure of this nature is in the national interest – a point grasped by a strong majority of Americans in the Keystone XL debate – which seems to elude the White House. Now, if the White House doesn’t want to listen to what its own State Department says about infrastructure, maybe another voice will be more persuasive.

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