North American Infrastructure Can't Keep Up With Oil and Gas Boom

Overtaxed pipelines, train accidents, and natural gas 'flaring' are just some of the symptoms of the strain North America's oil and gas boom is placing on the continent's infrastructure. Can needed upgrades be reconciled with environmental goals?
July 18, 2013, 12pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"Over the past few years, the U.S. fracking boom has taken a great many people by surprise. Companies have been producing so much oil and gas that it’s now putting a strain on America’s energy infrastructure," writes Brad Plumer. 

While the recent Lac-Mégantic oil train derailment was a stark reminder of the safety issues associated with the transition of oil transport from pipeline to "crude-by-rail", "it’s worth emphasizing that there’s much more than rail safety and Keystone XL to consider," says Plumer. "In the most recent issue of Democracy, former White House energy adviser Jason Bordoff makes an extended argument that North America’s energy infrastructure has yet to catch up with growing oil and gas production in all sorts of ways."

"The piece also takes time to stress the need to tackle climate change, and Bordoff wonders if there’s a deal to be made here between environmentalists and industry (while noting that there 'is good reason to be skeptical about the prospects for such a deal'):

The energy grand bargain we need is simple: Government must take steps that help the oil and gas industry develop America’s newfound abundance even more quickly—on permitting, exports, the Jones Act, clear and sensible fracking safety regulations, and other issues—while industry works with government on longer-term actions to meaningfully reduce carbon emissions. [...]

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Published on Thursday, July 18, 2013 in The Washington Post
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