H.R. 1900 Needed to Deliver Affordable American Energy to Consumers

November 19, 2013

This week the House of Representatives will consider H.R. 1900, the Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act. Authored by Energy and Commerce Committee member Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), the bill will help ensure consumers have access to affordable and reliable energy by modernizing the permitting process for interstate natural gas pipelines. It is a critical part of the committee’s efforts to build the architecture of abundance, and will allow American families and businesses across the country to enjoy the benefits of the U.S. shale gas boom. 

America is experiencing a surge in natural gas production but right now we simply don’t have the infrastructure to accommodate this increased supply and deliver this low-cost energy to consumers and manufacturers. And as gas gains a greater market share of the nation’s electricity portfolio, many regions of the country do not have the pipeline capacity to support this conversion, leaving consumers vulnerable to price spikes. We saw this play out last January as areas of the country, particularly along the East Coast, faced gas shortages and high prices. According to a recent blog post by the Energy Information Administration, “The increased use of natural gas for electricity generation has raised concerns about fuel diversity, as the Northeast is also reliant on natural gas for part of its heating needs and has limited pipeline capacity to bring gas to market. The winter of 2012-13 saw spikes in wholesale electricity prices in New England and New York as demand for natural gas from both electric generators and natural gas distribution companies taxed the capacity to bring natural gas into these markets.”

The chart below highlights those states that suffered the most last winter from high natural gas prices and the lack of adequate infrastructure, with natural gas prices reaching up to 68% higher than the national average:

H.R. 1900 offers a commonsense solution to help alleviate our pipeline problems and stabilize prices. The current regulatory process continues to delay the construction of critical pipeline projects. By streamlining permits and bringing certainty to the process, the legislation will help natural gas pipelines be constructed in both a safe and timely manner to help address these shortages that are hurting consumers and holding back economic growth. To learn more about the Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act, click HERE.

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