Grid Geeks Podcast S2E6

Natural Gas Pipeline Reform: Refreshing the Conversation

Listen here . . . 

One aspect of FERC’s authority that is critical to shaping our energy future is its jurisdiction to consider and approve new interstate natural gas pipelines. Unlike determinations about the need and siting of transmission lines, which generally falls within states’ authority, FERC has the jurisdiction to consider the need for and impacts of interstate natural gas pipelines. FERC’s policy, which has consisted of approving almost all of the pipeline applications that have come its way – no fewer than 400 pipelines since 2000, has been nothing if not controversial. The Center for Public Integrity issued a report in July that FERC has only denied approval of two pipelines in the last 30 years.

These pipelines are expensive, environmentally intrusive, and have real life impacts for the communities in which pipelines are planned as well as, to a lesser extent, everyone who pays a monthly electricity or gas heating bill. With steel-in-the-ground lives of 50 years or more, they also contribute to locking in carbon-polluting natural gas as a central component of our country’s electricity supply.

So, why is it so easy to get FERC approval for new pipeline development? Montina Cole, senior attorney with Natural Resources Defense Council’s Sustainable FERC Project, joins Grid Geeks to talk about a new Analysis Group report that considers FERC’s pipeline certification policy (which harkens back to 1999) in light of changing industry conditions. She connects the dots on the need for reform necessary to facilitate an affordable and clean energy future.

From today's episode:

Analysis Group Report: Natural Gas Pipeline Certification: Policy Considerations for a Changing Industry

Montina Cole's blog on the report

Environmental Defense Fund white paper on available pipeline capacity in the Northeast