Natural Gas Utilities Applaud President’s Efforts to Upgrade Our Nation’s Infrastructure
Washington, D.C. - The United States has more than 2.4 million miles of natural gas pipelines. President Barack Obama is calling for action under Executive Order 13604 to upgrade and modernize our nation s infrastructure, highlighting his administration s efforts to streamline the federal permitting process and reduce the timelines for approving projects. America s natural gas utilities share the goal of a safe, resilient, clean energy infrastructure and work with federal and state regulators to build and maintain a 21st century infrastructure capable of safely and reliably delivering natural gas to homes and business throughout the United States.
America s natural gas utilities are deeply committed to upgrading and modernizing our nation s infrastructure, said Dave McCurdy, President and CEO of the American Gas Association. 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. As natural gas utilities plan infrastructure upgrades, these reforms will give utilities more regulatory certainty and will increase early coordination of multi-agency permitting processes to reduce costs for utilities and agencies. These reforms will also help ensure that agencies and stakeholders are working together during the permitting process to build on, and consistently implement, best practices for environmental mitigation.
Safety is the top priority for natural gas utilities. Since 1990, natural gas utilities have installed modern plastic pipes used for delivering gas at low pressure at a rate of 30,000 miles per year, and cathodically protected steel mains used for high pressure delivery at a rate of 1,500 miles per year, both connecting new customers and upgrading existing pipeline infrastructure. Natural gas emissions from utility-owned distribution systems have dropped 17 percent during that time period and nearly 90 percent of those emissions declines are due to pipeline replacements.
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, yet there are policies that need to be revised to clear the way for this to happen. Improving the permitting processes for infrastructure projects is a great step towards making it possible for all Americans to experience the efficiency, environmental and economic benefits of natural gas, McCurdy continued.