Washington Watch

Stephen Barlas, Washington Editor

Questions are beginning to arise from states and localities about the requirements for spending the water infrastructure funds in the stimulus bill, called the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009.

Stephen Barlas, Washington Editor

Six months after giving pipelines the green light to use high stress pipelines more widely, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is now highlighting safety concerns with new pipelines operating at 80 percent of specified minimum yield strength (SMYS).

On the heels of the $6 billion emergency funding in the stimulus package for the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds, President Obama has proposed a huge increase for both funds in fiscal 2010, which begins Oct. 1.

Stephen Barlas, Washington Editor

Industry execs with good luck in Vegas might want to put some money down on President Obama eventually eliminating the “acting” adjective he put in front of the title of new FERC “Chairman” Jon Wellinghoff.

Stephen Barlas, Washington Editor

A last-minute rule from the Bush administration limits the ability of federal wildlife officials and environmentalists to throw a monkey wrench into an application for construction of new gas transmission lines and LNG facilities.

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.

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.

Stephen Barlas, Washington Editor

You know a federal rulemaking was complicated when the chairman of the agency in charge admits: “It has been difficult to get this rule right.” That may be an understatement with regard to the final rules on standard of conduct for pipelines which FERC announced on Oct. 16.

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