New energy secretary slams 'bad actors' for delaying pipeline projects
Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette doubled down on the Trump administration's criticism of oil and natural gas pipeline construction opponents during his first public speech as the U.S. Department of Energy's leader. "We must counter those who would do anything to stop the use of any important sources of energy," Brouillette said during a National Petroleum Council meeting on Dec. 12 in Washington, D.C. "Certainly bad actors are ... trying to decrease the benefits for consumers."
Gas ban monitor: Calif. commission approves 5 measures; 2nd Mass. ban advances
A number of municipality-level gas ban or electrification-focused measures moved forward recently despite opposition, finding support from policymakers in both California and Massachusetts. The California Energy Commission approved building electrification ordinances in four cities and one county, while the City Council Ordinance Committee in Cambridge, Mass., passed a motion to advance a proposed gas ban to the full council, a key step towards passing the second Boston-area prohibition into law.
US law must change for oil, gas pipes to keep up with demand, report says
The U.S. government will have to reform its environmental regulations, or its permitting and construction of oil and natural gas pipelines may be unable to keep pace with demand, according to a Dec. 12 report by the National Petroleum Council. Overhaul of the National Environmental Policy Act, which mandates consideration of the environmental impacts of major government agency decisions, is most needed, the report said.
Court decision keeps Ohio from pursuing water charges against Rover Pipeline
An Ohio appeals court upheld a decision that found that the state had waived its right to enforce water quality standards against Rover Pipeline LLC after the company's contractors spilled drilling fluids during construction of the 3.25-Bcf/d Rover natural gas pipeline. Ohio had appealed the judgment of the Stark County Common Pleas Court, which in March dismissed the state's charges that Rover and its horizontal directional drilling contractors had illegally discharged millions of gallons of drilling fluids into Ohio waters and degraded waters across the state.
Washington, DC, climate goals create roadblock for natural gas incentive program
Washington, D.C., regulators rejected Washington Gas Light Co.'s request to extend a pilot project to encourage natural gas use in residential buildings, saying the incentive program might conflict with the district's climate goals. The Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia said recent changes to clean energy laws mean it could ultimately shoot down proposed gas incentives. Partly for that reason, it is not prudent to extend a pilot project to assess the incentive program's viability, the PSC said.
States, trade groups back Atlantic Coast pipeline at Supreme Court
Atlantic Coast Pipeline LLC received the support of several states, a rival pipeline and trade associations in its attempt to get the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a lower court decision that blocked a 600-mile, 1.5-Bcf/d natural gas pipeline project from crossing the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. The pipeline company would like to reverse a ruling of the U.S. Appeals Court for the 4th Circuit that canceled U.S. Forest Service authorizations that would have allowed the pipeline to cross the Appalachian Trail and sections of national forest.