Washington, D.C. – American Gas Association (AGA) President and CEO Dave McCurdy welcomed the announcement of a plan by the Obama Administration to improve permitting processes for infrastructure projects as part of the Department of the Interior’s Landscape-Scale Mitigation Strategy, saying:
“Natural gas utilities are members of the communities they serve and are careful to consider impacts to the local community as they expand and upgrade the natural gas pipeline network to safely and reliably deliver clean and affordable energy to more homes and businesses. For every new construction, routine maintenance, repair, replacement, and integrity and safety testing project, big or small, utilities carefully consider potential impacts on natural resources – species, habitats, cultural and historical properties – and ensure that necessary regulatory reviews and mitigation are performed to altogether avoid or minimize such impacts.
“We applaud the Administration’s effort to improve permitting processes for infrastructure projects, by cutting timelines, reducing red tape, and promoting transparency through a modernized process. These reforms will give natural gas utilities more regulatory certainty as they plan infrastructure upgrades, reduce agency costs associated with project reviews and increase landscape-level habitat mitigation techniques that measurably improve environmental protection. These reforms will also help natural gas utilities receive timely permits for projects that must be completed in a specific season to minimize environmental impacts, and projects that are time-sensitive for reliability and safety reasons. We look forward to working with the relevant agencies to implement these changes.
“The increased and strategic use of American natural gas across all sectors will help achieve our national goals of reducing our costs for energy, protecting our environmental and securing our energy future. But reaching these goals requires understanding and a visionary response on the part of government, natural gas utilities and their customers. Improving the permitting processes for infrastructure projects is a great step towards making it possible for all Americans to experience the energy efficiency, environmental and affordability benefits of natural gas.”