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Energy Tomorrow Blog

Challenges to U.S. Energy Infrastructure Challenge U.S. Energy Leadership

infrastructure  pipelines  permitting 

Mark Green

Mark Green
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.

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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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CWA Section 401 Improvements Will Help U.S. Infrastructure

clean water act  pipelines  infrastructure 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted June 4, 2020

EPA has announced its final rule to modernize Section 401 of the Clean Water Act (CWA), which will clarify the jurisdiction of states in issuing required water quality certifications. As discussed in this post, the changes will help the timely advance of needed infrastructure projects – which in some instances EPA believes have been delayed or blocked by states exceeding their Section 401 authority.

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said the CWA review process has been abused in the past, holding key infrastructure “hostage.”

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U.S. Infrastructure Needs Updated Section 401 in Clean Water Act

infrastructure  new york  pipelines  clean water act 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted May 28, 2020

When New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo talks about building new railroad tunnels under the Hudson River, new subways and airports – as he did Wednesday after a White House meeting with President Trump – he hits the right infrastructure notes – urgency on critical public needs, forming partnerships, getting bureaucracies to move quicker and so on.

Unfortunately, the governor’s bullishness on infrastructure doesn’t extend to natural gas pipelines. Just the opposite. Cuomo and his administration seem to have blocked pipeline projects at every turn – underscoring the need for revisions to the federal Clean Water Act (CWA). I’ll explain.

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U.S. Pipeline Needs Dealt a Setback by NWP 12 Ruling

pipelines  permitting  environmental impact 

Mark Green

Mark Green
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.


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Constitution Pipeline Stalls Out, New Yorkers Miss Out

natural gas access  infrastructure  permitting  pipelines  new york 

Mark Green

Mark Green
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. 

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Infrastructure – So No One is Left Out in the Cold

infrastructure  natural gas  pipelines  consumers 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted December 12, 2019

News that the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. is bringing attention to the need for a natural gas pipeline to serve an impoverished area near Chicago makes a lot of sense. No person should be preparing for the approaching winter without clean, reliable heat, which natural gas provides.

Unfortunately, people living in the Pembroke Township area south of Chicago near the Indiana state line don’t have natural gas and are facing just such a challenge. The area’s median income is about $16,000 a year, it suffers from 30% unemployment and has a 33.9% poverty rate. ...

The plight of Pembroke Township, like others we’ve noted, is a reminder that access to affordable, reliable energy is critically important not only for comfort and convenience, but also for health, particularly among low-income Americans.


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Energy Malpractice

new york  natural gas pipelines  consumers  electricity 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted July 24, 2019

An important test of energy leadership is whether elected officials will act to enhance and protect strategic energy interests – a point we made in a post last week about smart, forward-looking policies that foster safe and responsible offshore energy.

A leadership corollary: First, do no harm.

We say that because, in a nation that’s the No. 1 producer of natural gas and oil in the world, leaders shouldn’t be making energy decisions that hurt those they’re supposed to serve. Unfortunately, in New York, there has been quite a bit of pain inflicted on New Yorkers by the Cuomo administration’s energy agenda.

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Sur de Texas Pipeline Would Advance North American Energy Integration

natural gas pipelines  mexico  consumers 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted July 8, 2019

The U.S. natural gas and oil industry is driving the American economy, delivering affordable, reliable and abundant energy to manufacturers, businesses and American families. Around the world, pipeline infrastructure remains the safest, cleanest way to transport energy to consumers. Attempts to block important infrastructure projects could inadvertently harm energy consumers and undermine American energy leadership.

The recently completed Sur de Texas natural gas pipeline, which will bring much-needed clean, affordable and reliable natural gas from the U.S. Permian Basin to Mexican customers, perfectly embodies the important trading relationship between Mexico and the United States. The project will deepen U.S.-Mexico energy trade, benefit Mexico’s consumers whose demand for reliable energy continues to grow and work toward the U.S. administration’s goal of energy leadership. However, there continue to be attempts to arbitrarily block the use of this critical energy lifeline, which if not brought online could harm Mexican consumers and Mexico’s economy. 

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Updated Federal Review is Critical to Robust Energy Infrastructure

pipelines  permitting  permian basin  safe operations  energy  infrastructure 

Mark Green

Mark Green
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.


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