On April 10, 2019, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order on Promoting Energy Infrastructure and Economic Growth (Executive Order). In addition to outlining U.S. policy toward private investment in energy infrastructure and directing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to take certain actions to improve the permitting process under the Clean Water Act, the Executive Order instructs the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to update the federal safety standards for liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities. The Executive Order notes that DOT originally issued those safety standards nearly four decades ago and states that the current regulations are not appropriate for “modern, large-scale liquefaction facilities[.]” Accordingly, the Executive Order directs DOT to finalize new LNG regulations within 13 months, or by no later than May 2020, an ambitious deadline given the complex issues involved and typical timeframe for completing the federal rulemaking process.
Please read more about this decision in this Alert.
In a recent op-ed published in the Post-Gazette, “Gas Pipelines Represent Prosperity” (Sept. 5 Perspectives), David Spigelmyer and James Kunz of the Marcellus Shale Coalition described the many benefits Read more ›
U.S. Senator John Rockefeller (D-WV), Chair of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, recently asked the Government Accountability Office to assess the impact of current shale oil and gas development on the nation’s existing transportation infrastructure, including rail and pipelines. Rockefeller’s request was reportedly prompted by a recent train derailment incident in Quebec and the Sissonville, WV, pipeline explosion event which occurred in December 2012. The Committee held a hearing on rail safety in June 2013 and a field hearing on pipeline safety in January 2013.
The State Journal reports that the West Virginia Department of Transportation, Division of Highways (DOH), recently presented to state lawmakers regarding West Virginia roadway issues. DOH showed pictures of roads in Ohio, Marshall and Ritchie Counties in an effort to demonstrate that problems with some West Virginia roads are attributable to the natural gas industry. DOH indicated that the problems are mostly the result of the utilization of secondary roads that were not constructed to handle the type or amount of vehicles and equipment being transported by the industry. DOH also said West Virginia appears to be the only state with a road maintenance policy. Charlie Burd, executive director of the Independent Oil and Gas Association of West Virginia, also spoke to the lawmakers. Burd reported that the oil and gas industry began working voluntarily with DOH two or three years ago, and that the organizations often work together to resolve issues regarding West Virginia roads.