Cancellations, construction halts, and a time of wait-and-see-with-fingers-crossed aptly paint the picture of U.S. pipeline operators this summer amid court battles for projects planned or currently being built. The soap opera that’s become the 1,179-mile Keystone XL recently took another hard blow after SCOTUS on July 6 quashed any dreams of construction to begin stateside this year. A few days earlier, the U.S. District Court in Wash. D.C., handed down a decision to shut down and completely drain the 1,172-mile Dakota Access Pipeline—a major transportation artery out of the Bakken that has producers shook.
Proposed pipelines in the nation’s eastern region in particular have been smacked six ways to Sunday—projects that otherwise would have flowed natural gas to power plants, industries, and growing populaces to replace coal and fuel oil with cleaner energy. After six bruising years, the planned 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline—already under construction—waved the white flag. Also years and billions of dollars later, Tulsa-based Williams recently threw in the towel on efforts to build two new gas pipelines head-cheerlearded by the regions’ utilities, essentially saying, “fuh get about it.”
Perhaps all is not lost though. Following the Atlantic Coast Pipeline cancellation, the 303-mile rival Mountain Valley Pipeline, also under construction, just may see its day to deliver 2 BCFD of natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica to Pa., Ohio, and W.V. For customers who depended on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to meet rising energy demand and convert coal-fired power plants to gas, Mountain Valley now finds itself in a time of wait-and-see-with-fingers-crossed.
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