Washington Watch

President Obama's fiscal 2011 budget proposal (for the year starting Oct. 1, 2010) contains significant sums for the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds in spite of pressure to reduce non-defense, non-entitlement spending.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the Jordan Cove Pacific Connector LNG/pipeline project with Chairman Jon Wellinghoff once again casting a lonely dissent.

Stephen Barlas, Washington Editor

The biggest issue for the underground construction industry in 2010 is not whether Congress and the Obama administration will unveil a second round of infrastructure spending, but whether that second helping of funds for sewers and drinking water systems will find its way into financial bloodstreams faster than the first injection did.

Two weeks after the new administrator of the federal pipeline safety agency formally took over the agency, PHMSA announced Colorado Interstate Gas (CIG) Company was paying the biggest fine the agency has ever levied under its own authority.

Stephen Barlas, Washington Editor

Anyone looking for an acknowledgement in the new FERC strategic plan that the commission is focused on expanding pipeline infrastructure need not waste his time reading the 50-page document FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff issued in mid-October.

Stephen Barlas, Washington Editor

A Senate climate change bill passed in early November by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will probably be pushed aside by a version more acceptable to Republicans and moderate Democrats.

Stephen Barlas, Washington Editor

Pipelines dodged one Environmental Protection Agency greenhouse gas (GHG) bullet temporarily but may get hit by another.

Stephen Barlas, Washington Editor

The state of Florida is pressing the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to put conditions on its approval of Florida Gas Transmission Company, LLC's Phase VIII Expansion Project.

Concerned about getting bogged down by “Buy American” waiver requests associated with sewer and drinking water projects funded with stimulus money, the EPA has published a new national waiver policy concerning “incidental components.”

Even though the natural gas posting requirements FERC established in Order 720 last November haven’t even gone into effect for major non interstate pipelines, the agency is already considering revising them.

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