Natural Gas Can Help Americans Have Affordable, Clean Energy

Rio Grande Guardian recently published an op-ed by Patrice Douglas, strategic advisor to the GAIN Coalition and former chairman of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, highlighting the importance of investing in natural gas infrastructure given the fuel’s role in lowering carbon emissions and providing a reliable source of affordable energy for Americans.

With the 2020 election coming approaching, environmental conservation is a top priority for many Americans. Natural gas provides a low emission alternative to coal and is used by millions of Americans in everyday life. However, Douglas writes that regulatory hurdles and challenges to energy infrastructure development can slow progress, limiting American energy capabilities in the process:

“While oil pipelines have slowly caught up with production, natural gas infrastructure is still lagging. As a result, flaring, or the burning off of excess gas, has reached near-record levels of 650 million cubic feet of natural gas per day. Had there been the necessary infrastructure to transport the gas to consumers, that amount would have been enough to supply nearly 4 million homes for a single day. In an effort to alleviate such constraints, a number of companies have committed to building natural gas lines to facilities along the Gulf Coast to get the product to consumer markets in the United States and to allies abroad – but will still take years before coming online.

Furthermore, the need for natural gas infrastructure extends beyond the Permian. For New England residents, flared off natural gas could have gone far in lowering energy prices, or decreasing reliance on imported fuel. In fact, due to infrastructure constraints in the region, Massachusetts has resorted to importing natural gas from Russia each of the past two winters. Even with that additional supply, millions in the region rely on heating oil to heat their homes – a notably less environmentally-friendly alternative to natural gas.”

We should not resort to relying on Russian natural gas considering the U.S. has produced record amounts from areas like the Permian Basin in Texas and the Marcellus in Pennsylvania. We need to be smart thinkers when considering how to meet American energy needs – and that starts with streamlining energy infrastructure development and the regulatory process. We must be considerate of emissions, cost to Americans, and cooperative when making policy choices regarding the future of American energy.  

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