Last week, President Trump signed two executive orders aimed at speeding up the the construction of pipelines and other natural gas infrastructure.
The first order directs the EPA to review and tighten rules that make it possible for states to block pipeline construction. The other executive order would transfer authority for approving the construction of international pipelines from the secretary of state to the president, eliminating a lengthy State Department review process. This transfer would make it possible for pipelines, like Keystone XL, to be built more quickly.
“Too often, badly needed energy infrastructure is being held back by special-interest groups, entrenched bureaucracies and radical activists,” Mr. Trump told an audience at the International Union of Operating Engineers training center in Crosby, TX. “This obstruction does not just hurt families and workers like you. It undermines our independence and national security.”
Pipeline delays have prevented much of the Northeast from benefiting from the U.S. fracking revolution. That’s a shame too, since natural gas is an important part of any climate change solution. Wind and solar are promising sources of energy, but we are still years away from being able to depend on them completely. Natural gas burns clean and is helping to reduce U.S. carbon dioxide emissions. In fact, U.S. CO2 emissions are at their lowest level since 1992, thanks largely to natural gas usage.
New York, for example, has banned fracking entirely and has stalled several needed pipeline projects such as the such as the Constitution, Northern Access and the Williams projects that would link Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale to the Northeast. These decisions are in line with NY Governor Cuomo’s plan to make the state 100% carbon-neutral by 2040.
Curtailing tailing pipeline construction is causing quite a few problems for the state, however. As of 2017 New York ranked fifth in the nation for natural gas use for power generation. Denying access to an important part of the energy mix raises electricity rates and hurts customers of limited means.
Pipelines delays have restrained oil and gas production in several other states as well. President Trump’s executive orders will give New York and the rest of the country greater access to natural gas as well as limit oil imports from countries such as Iran and Venezuela.
“The U.S is now leading the world in natural gas supply, but it is absolutely critical that we have the infrastructure in place to get those supplies to market. Doing so is a win for energy customers and the American economy,” explains Energy Fairness Director Paul Griffin.