NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Adding Gas Pipelines Necessary -- But Not Popular

March 9, 2001

Natural gas is the fuel of choice for electricity generation. Its clean-burning properties put it in great demand -- and that demand is growing. But serving it will require more natural gas pipelines to be built, raising the prospect of more "not in my backyard" protests.

  • Some experts estimate that up to 38,000 miles of new interstate natural gas pipelines will need to be added to today's 270,000 mile national system by the year 2015.
  • The federal Energy Department is projecting a 30 percent increase in the nation's demand for natural gas by 2010.
  • Opposition to pipelines is primarily fueled by safety concerns -- even though ruptures and explosions are rare.
  • Industry officials have begun to look with increasing favor on routes that would bypass most cities by delivering gas through undersea lines.

But overland routes would clearly be needed to supplement those under water.

The pipeline industry -- which has been frustrated over past delays -- hopes the new administration can reduce by half the approval time for major projects, which now averages 18 to 24 months.

Source: Douglas Jehl, "Weighing a Demand for Gas Against the Fear of Pipelines," New York Times, March 8, 2001.

For text


Browse more articles on Environment Issues