A recent report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office finds federal pipeline regulators were unable to document or explain their processes for assessing pipeline risk, and prioritizing safety inspections.
Marie Cusick / StateImpact Pennsylvania
Natural gas building boom fuels climate worries, enrages landowners
Companies have asked a federal regulator to approve thousands of miles of pipeline from Appalachia. They almost always get their way.
over owner Energy Transfer Partners, via the Ohio Environmental
Construction on the Rover natural-gas pipeline, which will stretch from Pennsylvania to Michigan, began this year. Ohio Environmental Protection Agency
They landed, one after another, in 2015: plans for nearly a dozen interstate pipelines to move natural gas beneath rivers, mountains and people’s yards. Like spokes on a wheel, they’d spread from Appalachia to markets in every direction.
Together these new and expanded pipelines — comprising 2,500 miles of steel in all — would double the amount of gas that could flow out of Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. The cheap fuel will benefit consumers and manufacturers, the developers promise.
But some scientists warn that the rush to more fully tap the rich Marcellus and Utica shales is bad for a dangerously warming planet, extending the country’s fossil-fuel habit by half a century. Industry consultants say there isn’t even enough demand in the United States for all the gas that would come from this boost in production.
And yet, five of the 11 pipelines already have been approved. The rest await a decision from a federal regulator that almost never says no.