government

The EPA sewer and drinking water construction budgets for the current fiscal 2011 year dropped precipitously in the final budget passed by Congress. Fiscal 2011 actually started last Oct. 1 but Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate had been unable to agree on a budget.

The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation recently announced that Senators Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and John D. Rockefeller IV (D-WV) have introduced legislation to improve pipeline safety efforts nationwide.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s water infrastructure congressional appropriations are destined to sink, maybe like stones, this year. Republicans and some Democrats want to severely cut the appropriations for both the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds in fiscal year 2011, which started last Oct. 1.

The Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA) has locked horns with the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) over the agency's advisory bulletin on pipeline safety.

Stephen Barlas, Washington Editor

The 2011 Congress will be one of the most unpredictable in many years, and probably one of the most explosive too, owing to the partisan friction occasioned by the Republican tide washing over both the House -- where the GOP took over -- and the Senate.

Robert Carpenter, Editor

After more than two years of declining revenues, tightening budgets and helplessly watching from the sidelines as their sewer and water infrastructure continues to decay and they are increasingly struggling to maintain current service levels, U.S. municipal personnel are hoping to experience at least a minor measure of improvement in 2011.

A National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) hearing on March 1-2 in Washington may push Congress to renew failed efforts from the fall of 2010 to upgrade pipeline safety laws. The hearings will air the NTSB's preliminary findings from the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) pipeline explosion in California last September where seven people were killed.

More than a million feet of sewer and water lines will get a major overhaul in Biloxi, MS, over the next few months. FEMA is funding the nearly $350 million bill to repair existing lines, including storm drains damaged during Hurricane Katrina.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is investigating the possibility that two interstate pipelines are charging unreasonable rates. The FERC opened mid-November investigations of Kinder Morgan Interstate Gas Transmission LLC and Ozark Gas Transmission LLC, a unit of Spectra Energy Partners LP., based on reviews of Form 2 cost of service and revenue information submitted by the two companies for 2008 and 2009.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may require pipelines to severely reduce the presence of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) throughout their systems, a move which would cost the industry tens, and potentially hundreds, of billions of dollars, according to the American Gas Association. Pamela F. Faggert, vice president and chief environmental officer, Dominion Resources Services, Inc., says the new regulatory measures the EPA is considering could cost her company alone a minimum of $300 million.

Syndicate content