Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted July 15, 2021
As we await the Biden administration’s report on the federal natural gas and oil leasing program, let’s note the welcome news that oil and gas permitting approvals this year are on track to reach their highest levels since George W. Bush was president.
Permitting at that pace is good for near-term U.S. production, no question. In January, when the administration suspended new oil and gas leasing on federal lands and waters, it said permitting would continue, and it has. The country benefits from safe, responsible and robust domestic natural gas and oil production.
Americans shouldn’t conflate permitting and leasing. Drilling permits are issued when companies are ready to develop from acreages, onshore and offshore, previously leased from the federal government. Put another way, leases typically are secured years before development occurs. We’re seeing permits go through at a significant rate because investment and planning have been completed and acreages are ready to go into production. Permitting is about production that’s imminent; leases represent energy in the future.
Posted August 6, 2020
There are two new developments with the federal Nationwide Permit 12 program (NWP 12), which is critically important for key infrastructure projects of all kinds. Both point to the need for a clear, efficient, common-sense permitting program that balances environmental protection with streamlining projects that have limited environmental impacts.
Achieving this is occurring on two tracks. U.S. senators have introduced legislation that would cut red tape and in the short term help reestablish regulatory order and allow infrastructure projects to proceed if they’re following certain species protection rules already in the NWP 12. Meanwhile the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has a proposal that includes renewing more than 50 Nationwide Permits for the next five years. This is important because the permits would expire in March 2022 otherwise.
Posted July 14, 2020
U.S. energy infrastructure is at an inflection point, with a number of important natural gas and oil pipelines sidetracked by red tape and court decisions within the past few weeks. Most outrageously, the Dakota Access crude oil pipeline, which has been operating safely for three years, was ordered shut down and drained by a federal judge. More on Dakota Access below.
The inflection point is this: Will we build the safe, modern energy infrastructure that broadly serves the public interest, creates thousands of jobs and harnesses abundant domestic natural gas and oil, or will narrow, often extreme interests continue to block the public good?
Posted July 7, 2020
Building and expanding U.S. pipeline infrastructure in this country shouldn’t be so difficult – not considering the critical role pipeline construction and operation play in American energy leadership, job creation and economic growth.
Modern natural gas and oil pipelines are the safe connection between consumers and America’s abundant, reliable, cleaner energy. Additional infrastructure is needed so that no matter where people live, they can be better served – expanding the benefit of domestic energy abundance.
Unfortunately, it has become increasingly challenging to get projects off the drawing board because of almost endless legal maneuvering and government red tape. Both contribute to delay and uncertainty that undermine project investment and completion.
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 May 12, 2020
Americans everywhere should be concerned about a federal judge’s decision in Montana that could significantly delay the safe and timely construction of new natural gas and oil pipelines across the country.
In a ruling Monday, U.S. District Judge Brian Morris excluded only the “construction of new oil and gas pipelines” from the Nationwide Permit 12 program (NWP 12). The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers uses NWP 12 to authorize a number of utility/infrastructure construction and maintenance projects crossing certain streams and wetlands where there is minimal effect on the environment. …
Nationwide Permits are used for projects deemed necessary for the public interest and that have minimal adverse environmental impacts. To prohibit new natural gas and oil projects from utilizing NWP 12 is arbitrary and actually could make it harder to protect the environment.
Posted March 5, 2020
Politics continues to dictate energy policy in New York – with the state’s consumers paying the price.
Look at the recently announced shelving of the Constitution natural gas pipeline by the Williams Company and its partners. The 124-mile line would have piped natural gas from the nearby Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania into New York. The builders gave up after nearly eight years of trying to get through regulatory red tape and general opposition to new natural gas infrastructure by Albany.
It’s a missed opportunity for New Yorkers.
Posted April 29, 2019
The administration is right: Robust U.S. supplies of natural gas and oil offer great economic opportunity for this nation – requiring robust infrastructure to deliver energy to Americans in all parts of the country. …
It’s very important for Americans to understand that more efficient federal and state permitting for infrastructure projects includes continued regulatory oversight and thorough environmental review by government agencies. Cutting “red tape” will help solve the problem of “energy disparity” in America by providing energy to currently under-served regions, without compromising environmental protection or public safety.
Updating the federal review and permitting process is critical for safe and responsible pipeline construction and operation.
Posted February 13, 2018
Posted June 19, 2015
The issue was energy infrastructure – where the United States is and where things are headed. At the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) annual conference this week, one discussion honed in on the challenges to infrastructure approval and construction – as well as government’s best role in developing projects that are key to U.S. energy transport and overall energy security. The latter produced some friction between speakers not often seen at conferences like EIA’s. More below.
The U.S. Energy Department’s Melanie Kenderdine talked about some of the details in the department’s recently issued Quadrennial Energy Review (QER), which focused on ways to modernize the nation’s infrastructure.