AGA’s McCurdy Calls on the Administration to Expand Opportunity for All Americans
Natural Gas Utilities Seek Greater Clarity from Pipeline Regulations
Washington, D.C. – Ahead of the annual State of the Union address, American Gas Association (AGA) President and CEO Dave McCurdy is calling on the administration to expand opportunity for all Americans through increased access to infrastructure and a streamlining of the regulatory process for building the pipelines that deliver clean, affordable natural gas to more than 177 million Americans and the millions more that are asking for access to its benefits.
“We hope that the President and Congress will turn their attention to an infrastructure package that expands opportunity for all Americans and improves quality of life for our customers and those that are seeking natural gas service. There are communities in our nation that have limited or no access to natural gas service and the comfort and affordability that it provides. Addressing our nation’s infrastructure challenges would enable these communities to participate in the energy revolution that is helping us achieve our national goals of boosting our economy, protecting our environment and enhancing our national security.”
“Natural gas utilities are not looking for federal dollars. The 2.5 million miles of natural gas pipelines that deliver essential energy throughout the United States are built with private funds. AGA members are investor-owned and raise capital from private markets. Nonetheless, there are some bureaucratic hurdles that could be eliminated to reduce the time and expense for building natural gas pipelines.”
“This administration has made strides towards streamlining the process for permitting and siting pipelines. We would like to see further clarification surrounding which agency has jurisdiction for reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Similarly, we would like to see natural gas pipelines included, along with electric, water, and telecommunications, under the Secretary of the Interior’s authority for granting rights of way.”
“Improving our nation’s roads and bridges is a priority for policymakers at every level and our citizens. When these critical byways are updated there are utility relocation costs associated. To reduce that burden on customers, we would like to see that reimbursement included in the federal outlay for these projects where requested.”
Thirty-nine states have adopted or considered innovative natural gas infrastructure expansion proposals, and that number continues to grow. The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) has established a Task Force on Natural Gas Access and Expansion. In November, they released a report to educate local regulators on what states are doing to promote and facilitate natural gas expansion and provide guidance on policies, mechanisms and best practices that regulators can use to help extend natural gas service to unserved and underserved areas.
The American Gas Association, founded in 1918, represents more than 200 local energy companies that deliver clean natural gas throughout the United States. There are more than 73 million residential, commercial and industrial natural gas customers in the U.S., of which 95 percent — more than 69 million customers — receive their gas from AGA members. Today, natural gas meets more than one-fourth of the United States' energy needs.