Energy Tomorrow Blog
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 offers an opportunity to unleash the infrastructure required for sustainable 21st century energy.
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.
Posted February 13, 2018
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.
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.