In a blog post from earlier this week, the GAIN Coalition highlighted important data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) indicating that U.S natural gas production had reached a new record high in 2021. While the record high production of natural gas is certainly positive, it is not keeping pace with robust consumer demand, particularly ahead of the crucial winter period. One reason for this, according to a recent article from OilPrice.com, is due to misguided federal regulations that are straining our capacity to transport natural gas via pipelines.
The piece forcefully states that regulatory hurdles are “stymieing growth in natural gas production in the Marcellus-Utica basin,” which is the largest gas-producing region in the U.S. This area of deep gas reserves includes parts of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia, and has played an integral role in ushering in a new American energy renaissance. As a consequence, the extraction, transportation, and processing of natural gas has been a job creator and has helped redevelop towns that were once considered the “rust belt.”
These benefits, however, are being constrained through burdensome and bureaucratic hurdles from complex permitting at the federal level. The article notes this is causing severe problems in the area, writing “not only is Marcellus-Utica missing the opportunity to export and monetize natural gas in a world scrambling for LNG supply, but it is also unable to provide more natural gas to the regions close to it in New England.”
Ironically, despite the close proximity to one of the most productive gas sites in the country, the Northeast is importing Liquified Natural Gas from foreign producers to power its ability to generate electricity. New England’s predicament is unfortunate, which is why the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America is calling “for permitting reform and regional support to pipeline companies that are ready to build infrastructure,” although they “have seen a lot of projects delayed and tied up in lengthy court battles, which have swelled costs.”
The GAIN Coalition echoes this concern, and continues to call for Congress to pass responsible permitting reform so we can tackle the heart of this problem. More pipeline capacity is needed, and until then, the Northeast will continue to be stuck with high electricity bills – a reality no one wants.