PA Chamber Comments on Federal Energy and Environmental Rulemakings

In mid-July, the PA Chamber participated in three public comment opportunities for key federal energy and environmental policy items: FERC’s review of its pipeline certification process; an EPA community information event regarding an emerging contaminant issue in Horsham; and the Department of Energy’s draft Liquefied Natural Gas exports study.

On July 24, the PA Chamber filed comments with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which sought comments from the public and stakeholders on changing what information the commission considers when reviewing permitting requests for interstate natural gas pipeline projects. The PA Chamber noted in its comments that the development of new natural gas pipeline projects have greatly benefitted the economy and environment, and that FERC’s current process is working well – the commission is by and large successfully defending nearly all of its decisions in court. The PA Chamber concurred with recommendations by UGI Energy Services and the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America regarding some changes to improve involvement by landowners in the permitting process. 

On July 25, Brian Clark, partner with Buchanan Ingersoll and Rooney and chair of the PA Chamber’s environmental executive committee, delivered testimony at a community information event held by the US EPA in Horsham, Pa. The community is dealing with the emerging contaminant issue of PFOA and PFAS, as are many other water supplies near military installations across the country. The PA Chamber expressed support for EPA’s interest in the matter and, as the agency decides what formal regulatory path to take, offered to take part in continued stakeholder discussions.

Finally, on July 26, the PA Chamber filed comments with the Department of Energy regarding the federal agency’s draft economic report on LNG exports. The Chamber noted in its comments that expanding market access for domestically produced natural gas will not result in significantly increased prices and is in fact necessary to sustaining production in the shale play of the state. The PA Chamber also pointed to the Forge the Future report that outlined the significant opportunities that can be achieved should the state leverage its energy assets. A sizable amount of the sustained economic activity included in the report relies on the export of natural gas to markets outside of Pennsylvania. The Chamber also expressed its concern over the impact of a trade war between the United States and other countries, which could have the effect of closing off markets for LNG exports.