Energy groups urge White House to streamline security bureaucracy

By the OGJ Online Staff

WASHINGTON, DC, Jan. 25 -- Five energy trade associations this week urged White House Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge to give responsibility for energy infrastructure security to one government agency. Several federal agencies now handle the issue.

"We believe one agency should be given primary responsibility for energy infrastructure security. Currently, several agencies are involved in homeland energy security matters, including the Department of Energy, Department of Transportation, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and Nuclear Regulatory Commission," wrote the trade associations under the auspices of the Natural Gas Council. The American Gas Association, American Petroleum Institute, Independent Petroleum Association of America, Interstate Natural Gas Association of America, and the Natural Gas Supply Association of America signed the Jan. 22 letter.

"To improve coordination and efficiency, prevent overlap, and ensure that each agency involved in homeland energy infrastructure security has a clear understanding of its responsibilities, we believe one agency should be in charge."

Industry officials said they have no preference which government agency should lead the effort; last fall DOE said it planned to work with all industry segments on the issue (OGJ Online, Oct. 9, 2001). Nevertheless, industry officials are seeking a more specific directive from the White House on which agency should call the shots.

The trade groups also urged Ridge to give industry pre-approved waivers from permitting requirements in situations where facilities are damaged by terrorist activities and the site has been declared a crime scene.

"In such cases, our ability to continue delivering energy depends on quickly and expeditiously replacing our facilities at an alternative site, which can only be done with pre-approved permitting waivers," the letter said.

The group also recommended a review of antitrust laws to ensure that, in the event of terrorist attacks on energy facilities and infrastructure, legal safeguards are in place to allow industry coordination, communication, training, and emergency planning -- including critical inventory.

The group said other security items the White House should consider include reviewing the Freedom of Information Act to see whether some information now available to the general public should be restricted and adopting "common nomenclature" for the many new terms gaining currency in security-related public/private communications, i.e. standards, best practices and procedures, and common definitions for the various alert levels.

Industry also wanted US security officials to set forth guidelines on what infrastructure information can be available via the internet, for example.

Public interest groups meanwhile have said they are skeptical about restricting FOIA in the name of national security. They argued the president already has the authority to safeguard sensitive information.

Related Articles

NGSA asks Congress to pass bills facilitating LNG exports

03/27/2014 The Natural Gas Supply Association called on Congress to support legislation that would facilitate more LNG exports. “Exporting LNG overseas will h...

IHS: Western sanctions indirectly could hinder Russian oil, gas revenues

03/27/2014 Western sanctions imposed against Russian government officials and business executives regarding Russia’s conflict with Ukraine could slow the avai...

US, European energy leaders to discuss gas diversification measures

03/27/2014 Top US government energy officials and their counterparts from other G7 nations will meet early next week to discuss reducing Europe’s heavy relian...

EPA leads investigation of crude discharge at BP Whiting refinery

03/26/2014 The US Environmental Protection Agency took formal charge of investigation and cleanup efforts after an undetermined amount of crude oil spilled in...

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