... FERC Chairman Discusses Pipeline Reliability in House Subcommittee

FERC Chairman Glick Discusses Pipeline Reliability in U.S. House Subcommittee

FERC Chairman Richard Glick appeared before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy on Jan. 19 to highlight the need for mandatory pipeline reliability standards, as well as to discuss the Energy Product Reliability Act (H.R. 6084). 

Appearing alongside Deputy Secretary of Energy David Turk, Glick discussed FERC’s authority under the Energy Policy Act of 2005, as well as the establishment and implementation of mandatory reliability standards for the bulk-power system. 

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Glick reiterated the need for mandatory standards for the reliable operation of natural gas infrastructure. In a 2021 joint report with the North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC), FERC recommended Congress, state legislatures and state agencies adopt new requirements for the reliable operation of natural gas infrastructure, including the designation of a single federal agency over pipeline reliability.

In contrast to the bulk-power system, “there is no comparable mandatory reliability regime for natural gas and other pipelines that transport energy products, including gasoline and propane,” Glick said. “The lack of mandatory reliability standards, especially for natural gas pipelines, poses a risk to the reliability of the Bulk-Power System due to the interdependency of our nation’s gas and electric infrastructure.”

Testimony and a link to the archived webcast from House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearing can be found here.

Several energy pipeline trade associations released a joint statement regarding the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearing on the Energy Product Reliability Act.

The trade groups that sponsored the statement were the American Gas Association (AGA), American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufactures (AFPM), American Petroleum Institute (API), American Public Gas Association (APGA), Association of Oil Pipe Lines (AOPL), GPA Midstream Association, Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA), and Natural Gas Supply Association (NGSA).

“Our organizations share the Committee’s commitment to ensuring the safe and reliable delivery of energy, which is of critical importance to us and American families and businesses that depend on us every day,” according to the join statement. “Our industries have performed resiliently and enabled energy reliability during numerous extreme weather events, as discussed further in our letter to the Committee on December 7th. However, we remain concerned that any proposal designed to create a new, additional pipeline reliability regulator will not effectively promote pipeline reliability, given that it will create duplicative and conflicting authority with existing federal and state agency regulatory programs.”

The trade associations asserted that H.R. 6084 conflicts with current reliability programs and regulatory requirements.

“FERC, PHMSA, TSA and DOE each have existing authorities and programs to promote reliability. DOI, BOEM, BLM and other agencies have authority over energy production,” the joint statement continued. “State and local regulators have authority over intrastate natural gas pipelines and local gas distribution systems. Inserting a new regulatory entity into this mix without addressing existing regulatory challenges, including capacity constraints resulting from federal and state permitting obstacles, would not be helpful in accomplishing the Committee’s stated goals. However, we are committed to collaborating with the Committee, regulatory agencies, and other stakeholders to enhance existing programs to better protect our critical infrastructure and ensure the continued safe and reliable transportation of energy across our nation.”

The trade associations also declared that H.R. 6084 also duplicates existing cybersecurity requirements.

“The cybersecurity standard-setting authority that this legislation would give to the proposed Energy Product Reliability Organization (EPRO) duplicates existing and forthcoming TSA pipeline cyber and physical security requirements,” the trade associations concluded. “Last summer, TSA issued two pipeline cybersecurity Security Directives in response to recent incidents and will soon undertake a rulemaking to establish a permanent program. Congress risks disrupting these cybersecurity efforts by granting duplicative authority to EPRO and FERC.”

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