Oil and natural gas pipelines fuel America’s economy. Energy pipelines are used to transport liquid petroleum and natural gas products from where they are found or from where they are processed, to where they are needed and consumed.
Today, millions of miles of pipelines around the nation safely deliver fuels and manufacturing feedstocks that American consumers, businesses, and industry use daily.
There are many types, lengths and sizes of pipelines. Liquid pipelines range from small “gathering” pipelines (2-8 inches diameter) that move crude oil from production sites, to large “transmission lines” (8-24 inches diameter) and a few larger “trunk lines” (up to 48 inches diameter) that ship crude oil from producing areas of the country to refiners. Found in most states and communities, other liquid pipelines carry refined petroleum products such as gasoline, diesel fuel, home heating oil and jet fuel; while some others transport liquids that convert to gases such as propane and butane. Unlike oil and liquid petroleum products, natural gas is delivered directly to homes and businesses through large distribution mainline pipeline and service lines found in thousands of communities from coast to coast.
Energy production, of all types, continues to grow in America. We are blessed with abundant resources and technology. In 2018, we became the world’s largest producer of crude oil due to amazing innovations like hydraulic fracturing combined with direction drilling. We are the world’s top producer of both petroleum and natural gas.
Unfortunately, many areas in the U.S. are already missing out on the full benefits of our energy revolution because it has been difficult to move our energy to where it is needed. Activists who don’t like fossil fuels and wish to “keep it in the ground” also threaten our ability to move energy resources throughout the country. Knowing that delaying pipeline projects can have an impact in preventing natural gas and oil development, these activists are using complex bureaucratic permit processes, legal challenges and the courts, public protests, and other subversive tactics to attempt to impede the construction of pipelines and the development of energy in general. This extreme approach threatens America’s economy, jobs and our security.
Delayed or blocked oil and gas pipelines have costs, and impact our nation. Pipelines that aren’t built mean higher energy prices, as residents in the Northeast have experienced during frigid winters. Limited natural gas pipelines can’t transport enough gas into New England during cold weather, forcing New Englanders to pay the highest prices for electricity and natural gas in the continental U.S., hurting the poor and elderly, and stunting economic growth.
GEI supports policy changes to help improve pipeline construction and prevent project delays and cancellations. Notably, efforts to streamline permitting at the federal and state levels, such as President Trump’s Executive Order on permit streamlining, must continue. Steps taken to make federal agency permit reviews concurrent and better coordinated should be codified into law by Congress, along with the goal of completing the process within two years. Other recommendations include limiting abuses of the NEPA and Clean Water Act review processes.