government

Stephen Barlas, Washington Editor

Sewer and drinking water funding has been a back burner issue in Washington for the past decade, as local infrastructure needs have come to a boil. But the economic stimulus package Congress will pass will include substantial funds for water infrastructure.

The water war between North Carolina and South Carolina may soon go before the nation’s highest court.

Despite turmoil in the financial markets and oil prices that are the lowest since 2003, the U.S. natural gas industry appears likely to remain one of the stronger performers in the energy sector. Supporting this is the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) report, Additions to Capacity on the U.S. Natural Gas Pipeline Network: 2007.

Stephen Barlas, Washington Editor

FERC walked a fine line with its final rule on natural gas flow posting, reducing the number of intrastate pipelines – called major non interstates for the purpose of this rulemaking – who will have to comply while at the same time ditching a former proposal which interstates had opposed. FERC threw a bone to interstates, too.

Stephen Barlas, Washington Editor

The gas infrastructure conference on Nov. 21 touched on LNG pricing and terminal construction, but never got into the political issues which are likely to bear on FERC’s approval of new LNG terminals.

Stephen Barlas, Washington Editor

Worries about potential escalating demand for natural gas from electric utilities and industrials forced to switch fuels because of climate change legislation from Congress was the major factor behind the FERC natural gas infrastructure workshop on Nov. 21.

Robert Carpenter

The presidential and Congressional elections of 2008 are over. For better or worse, our nation’s course seems set for the next four years. Economic stimulus talk is running rampant again in Washington. God help us, maybe they’ll get it right and make public works, especially underground infrastructure, a key part of any stimulus package?

Second nature

Stephen Barlas, Washington Editor

The federal pipeline regulatory agency proposed a broad new rule which would force hazardous liquid, transmission and distribution pipelines plus LNG terminals to train and test large numbers of employees in control room operations, and implement new safety measures for SCADA systems.

Stephen Barlas, Washington Editor

FERC officials say they aren’t pressuring the competing Denali and TransCanada Alaskan pipeline projects to merge. But the two projects – one already in the pre filing process – are heading toward submitting construction applications to FERC at roughly the same time in 2011 or 2012, depending on who one talks to, in what would be a regulatory clash and crash that the agency hopes to avoid. Congress is also pressuring the two Alaskan gas transportation contestants, though very subtly.

Jeff Griffin, Senior Editor

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has given verbal assurance to NASSCO that it will continue to consider the sewer rehabilitation work typically performed by its members as "maintenance" rather than "construction" as had been proposed in a rule change to OSHA's confined space standard, reports Irv Gemora, executive director of NASSCO.

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