House panel votes to boost security at energy sites, Senate to act soon

Maureen Lorenzetti
OGJ Online

WASHINGTON, DC, Oct. 3 -- The US House Committee on Resources Wednesday approved legislation to improve security at federal dams, power stations, and electric transmission lines.

The committee approved bills H.R. 2925 and H.R. 2924 and sent them to the House floor. The Senate Committee on Energy and Resources will act next week on similar energy and water legislation. The Senate committee wants to include security language that applies to the oil industry as well.

The House and Senate are expected to agree on energy and water security legislation by the end of the month. The final measure will include input from the Energy Department, the Interior Department, and the Environmental Protection Agency and likely will include protection for critical oil, gas, and electric infrastructures.

In Wednesday's House committee action, H.R. 2925 allows the Bureau of Reclamation to contract with local, state, tribal, and federal agencies to provide trained and certified law enforcement security at federal dams and other reclamation sites. Current law does not allow the bureau to either hire its own law enforcement personnel or contract for them.

H.R. 2924 authorizes the Western Power Administration, the Southwestern Power Administration, and the Southeastern Power Administration to offer rewards up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of persons who vandalize substations, power lines, etc.

Resources Committee Chairman James Hansen (R-Utah) said, "H.R. 2925 allows the Bureau of Reclamation to better plan and implement security for 348 reservoirs and 58 hydroelectric power plants that provide critical water and power to some of the most populous regions of the country.

"H.R. 2924 authorizes power administrations around the country to better protect 16,000 miles of federal transmission lines and 258 substations."

Senate action
The US Senate energy committee plans to amend a similar bill with language to also protect oil refineries, pipelines, and other installations.

Senators will consider recommendations from the departments of Energy and Interior. Proposals to expand the 544 million bbl Strategic Petroleum Reserve and the 2 million bbl Northeast heating oil reserve are also on the table. Expanding the SPR has bipartisan support (OGJ Online, Oct. 1, 2001).

The Senate energy panel plans a hearing Oct. 9 on energy security, followed by a markup the next day. Lawmakers expect the full Senate to pass the bipartisan legislation before the end of the month, possibly as a rider to a pending appropriations bill.

Since terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, Congress and the Bush administration have been working on new policy measures to protect the energy industry.

Energy Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) heard comments from industry representatives at a closed hearing last week. One of those was a representative of Conoco Inc., which had spearheaded a June report by the National Petroleum Council on physical and cyber threats to US energy infrastructure (OGJ, Oct. 1, 2001, p. 22).

Bingaman also recently sent letters to 12 industry trade groups seeking input on further measures that government could take to ensure the safety and reliability of energy and water delivery systems.

House leaders are also addressing security concerns through a special subcommittee formed last month in the wake of the attacks.

Energy policy bill
Separately, Bingaman plans to resume markups of a comprehensive energy policy energy bill the week of Oct. 14.

Before the August recess, the panel unanimously approved new funding for energy research and development. Now, the more controversial elements of the policy will be tackled.

Under the committee rules, the panel will not consider leasing of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska until after the electricity and energy efficiency portions of the package have been tackled. Whether the committee will be able to include ANWR leasing in the overall bill is uncertain.

Another problem facing the energy policy bill is that congressional leaders want to adjourn late this month. Another plan under consideration would have Congress recess for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays but remain on call to return to Washington if necessary.

Senate Republicans have criticized the pace at which Democrats have considered energy reform legislation.

Republicans argue the omnibus bill must give producers greater access to public lands for oil and gas development. The Teamsters and other labor unions say that would also increase jobs.

Senate Democrats have said they are not trying to stall the process but do not want to pass a controversial measure, such as ANWR leasing, without more debate. The House-passed bill would allow ANWR leasing.

The Democrats say producers have access to ample federal lands, including 32 million acres of undrilled leases in the Gulf of Mexico, without opening environmentally sensitive areas such as ANWR.

But some Senate Democrats may seek to expand the area in the eastern Gulf of Mexico that is available for exploration.

Contact Maureen Lorenzetti at maureenl@ogjonline.com

Related Articles

EPA suggests DOS reconsider Keystone XL climate impact conclusions

02/03/2015 The US Department of State might want to reconsider its conclusions regarding potential climate impacts from the proposed Keystone XL crude oil pip...

EnLink agrees to purchase Coronado Midstream for $600 million

02/02/2015 EnLink Midstream has agreed to acquire Coronado Midstream Holdings LLC, which owns natural gas gathering and processing facilities in the Permian b...

So much for cooperation

02/02/2015 Congressional majority leaders and the Obama administration came into 2015 pledging to at least try to be less combative and more cooperative in ru...

Near-term pipeline plans shrink, longer-term growth returns

02/02/2015 Planned pipeline construction to be completed in 2015 slipped 30% from forecasts for 2014, with expected products, crude, and natural gas project c...

Kerry expects to receive other agencies’ Keystone XL reports soon

02/02/2015 US Sec. of State John F. Kerry said he expects to receive other federal agencies and departments’ reports soon on the proposed Keystone XL crude oi...

Russia, Iran outlined joint Caspian position in 2001

02/02/2015 Following are the delineated points of a March 12, 2001, agreement between leaders of Russia and Iran at a meeting on Caspian Sea issues in Moscow

US Senate passes bill approving Keystone XL pipeline project

01/30/2015 The US Senate has passed a bill approving construction of the proposed Keystone XL crude oil pipeline by a 62-36 vote after 3 weeks of debate. Nine...

New Russia-Turkey gas pipeline route approved

01/28/2015

OAO Gazprom reported selection of a route for a gas pipeline across the Black Sea from Russia to Turkey.

PHMSA outlines community steps to reduce pipeline incident risks

01/27/2015 The US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration released a guide to best practices for communities to reduce risks from pipeline inci...
White Papers

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by

Asset Decommissioning in Oil & Gas: Transforming Business

Asset intensive organizations like Oil and Gas have their own industry specific challenges when it com...
Sponsored by

Squeezing the Green: How to Cut Petroleum Downstream Costs and Optimize Processing Efficiencies with Enterprise Project Portfolio Management Solutions

As the downstream petroleum industry grapples with change in every sector and at every level, includin...
Sponsored by

7 Steps to Improve Oil & Gas Asset Decommissioning

Global competition and volatile markets are creating a challenging business climate for project based ...
Sponsored by

The impact of aging infrastructure in process manufacturing industries

Process manufacturing companies in the oil and gas, utilities, chemicals and natural resource industri...
Sponsored by

What is System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis?

This paper will explain some of the fundamentals of System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis and demonstrate...

Accurate Thermo-Fluid Simulation in Real Time Environments

The crux of any task undertaken in System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis is striking a balance between ti...

6 ways for Energy, Chemical and Oil and Gas Companies to Avert the Impending Workforce Crisis

As many as half of the skilled workers in energy, chemical and oil & gas industries are quickly he...
Sponsored by
Available Webcasts


Prevention, Detection and Mitigation of pipeline leaks in the modern world

When Thu, Apr 30, 2015

Preventing, detecting and mitigating leaks or commodity releases from pipelines are a top priority for all pipeline companies. This presentation will look at various aspects related to preventing, detecting and mitigating pipeline commodity releases from a generic and conceptual point of view, while at the same time look at the variety of offerings available from Schneider Electric to meet some of the requirements associated with pipeline integrity management. 

register:WEBCAST



On Demand

Global LNG: Adjusting to New Realities

Fri, Mar 20, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s March 20, 2015, webcast will look at how global LNG trade will be affected over the next 12-24 months by falling crude oil prices and changing patterns and pressures of demand. Will US LNG production play a role in balancing markets? Or will it add to a growing global oversupply of LNG for markets remote from easier natural gas supply? Will new buyers with marginal credit, smaller requirements, or great need for flexibility begin to look attractive to suppliers? How will high-cost, mega-projects in Australia respond to new construction cost trends?

register:WEBCAST


US Midstream at a Crossroads

Fri, Mar 6, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s Mar. 6, 2015, webcast will focus on US midstream companies at an inflection point in their development in response to more than 6 years shale oil and gas production growth. Major infrastructure—gas plants, gathering systems, and takeaway pipelines—have been built. Major fractionation hubs have expanded. Given the radically changed pricing environment since mid-2014, where do processors go from here? What is the fate of large projects caught in mid-development? How to producers and processors cooperate to ensure a sustainable and profitable future? This event will serve to set the discussion table for the annual GPA Convention in San Antonio, Apr. 13-16, 2015.

This event is sponsored by Leidos Engineering.

register:WEBCAST


The Future of US Refining

Fri, Feb 6, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s Feb. 6, 2015, webcast will focus on the future of US refining as various forces this year conspire to pull the industry in different directions. Lower oil prices generally reduce feedstock costs, but they have also lowered refiners’ returns, as 2015 begins with refined products priced at lows not seen in years. If lower per-barrel crude prices dampen production of lighter crudes among shale plays, what will happen to refiners’ plans to export more barrels of lighter crudes? And as always, refiners will be affected by government regulations, particularly those that suppress demand, increase costs, or limit access to markets or supply.

register:WEBCAST


Emerson Micro Motion Videos

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected