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Environment & Energy

Pipeline Opponents Learn How to Slow, Though Not Stop, Construction

Buildng a natural gas pipeline
Energy Transfer Partners web site
Hundreds of miles of pipelines are being strung across Ohio.

Local challenges to natural gas pipeline projects like Rover and NEXUS have largely been unsuccessful in the courts and with regulators. But they may still be affecting the broader pipeline industry.

logo of the goodman group, Berkeley, CA
Credit goodman group website
Logo fo the goodman group

Ian Goodman heads a research and consulting group in energy economics.  He says any challenges--even local ones that don’t go anywhere--can cause delays. And those delays tend to worry investors. 

He adds that with each challenge, opponents learn a little more about to slow the process, especially the regulatory process.

“As they become more effective they get better at finding problems that may require more extensive response by the regulatory agencies. Saying, 'Wait a minute, your numbers don’t seem to add up here. We need to see more before we’re going to give you an approval.'”

Goodman also says increasing public pressure on regulators over pipeline accidents is prompting the industry to be more responsive in addressing the health and safety concerns raised by opponents.