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February 10, 2020

MSCI Coalition Makes Economic, Environmental Case For Natural Gas Infrastructure

The Natural Gas Act (NGA), passed by the U.S. Congress in 1938 and amended in 2005, is the primary federal law governing permitting of natural gas pipelines by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and other federal agencies. On February 5, a U.S. House subcommittee held a hearing to gather opinions from organizations about the benefits and drawbacks of using natural gas and its infrastructure in the American energy portfolio.

The Energy Equipment and Infrastructure Alliance (EEIA), which the Metals Service Center Institute is a part of, submitted a letter reminding subcommittee members and other lawmakers about the importance of natural gas and their pipelines to the American economy, environment, and national security. The letter, which can be accessed here, summarizes the case for natural gas. It explained “Over the past decade, America’s energy infrastructure companies have created hundreds of thousands of jobs, invested billions in communities, and made it more affordable for American families to heat their homes and cook their food.” Specifically, “according to the White House Council of Economic Advisors, thanks to affordable natural gas, a family of four now enjoys approximately $2,500 in annual savings.”

The letter also noted that, since 2005, the use of natural gas has been responsible for more than 60 percent of U.S. electricity generation carbon dioxide reductions.

One of the key issues outlined in the hearing was whether a proposed pipeline project should be evaluated for its role in contributing to climate change in the government’s analysis of whether it is in the public interest and should be approved. FERC has maintained that climate change impacts are outside the scope of its project evaluations under the Natural Gas Act. EEIA agreed and argued, “Underpinning the ability to make timely investments in our natural gas delivery system is the Natural Gas Act, which provides a clear road map for how new energy infrastructure is evaluated and built. The consumer and environmental benefits, economic and job growth, and increased national security attributable to natural gas abundance would not have been possible without the Natural Gas Act’s framework for energy infrastructure development.”