Trump unveils infrastructure plan, but vague on details

Dive Brief:

  • President Trump this week touted a focus on speeding infrastrcuture development, claiming his administration will reduce permitting time for projects from 10 years to 2 years, while "slashing regulations to speed up the decision making process."
  • Though the White House's official statement made little note of energy infrastructure, Platts reports the President on Wednesday said the push would help eliminate "burdensome" rules on oil and gas projects. 
  • Natural gas siting at the federal level is overseen by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. After more than two months without a quorum, Trump in May nominated two possible commissioners.

Dive Insight:

Trump has laid out a $1 trillion investment plan to rebuild infrastructure, and according to Platts, pointed to decisions on the  Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines as proof of his administration's commitment.

"Nobody thought any politician would have the guts to approve that final leg," Trump said. He reportedly gave his speech in Ohio, along the state's namesake river with barges of coal in the background.

The White House statement said Trump has dedicated $200 billion in his budget this year "as part of a $1 trillion investment plan to rebuild infrastructure." But details are scarce in the plan, and it's unclear how the Trump administration plans to streamline the lengthy permitting process. But power sector stakeholders have applauded his infrastructure push, including FERC nominee Robert Powelson. 

The U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources this week voted to advance Neil Chatterjee and Robert Powelson's nominations to serve as FERC commissioners. The five-member agency has lacked a quorum since Commissioner Norman Bay resigned at the end of January and has not been able to advance major energy projects.

Progress on several natural gas pipeline projects has been stalled by the lack of a quorum, including Spectra Energy’s NEXUS pipeline in Ohio, the PennEast pipeline in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and National Fuel’s Northern Access pipeline in Pennsylvania and New York.

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Filed Under: Generation
Top image credit: Spectra Energy