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ESG Issues, Legislative Efforts Suggest Pipeline Reliability Standards on the Horizon

Environmental, Social, and Governance ("ESG") issues in 2021 influenced how regulators, industry, and consumers think about the nation's energy infrastructure, especially due to two high-profile events: a cyber attack on the Colonial Pipeline with a 4.4 million dollar ransom price tag and "The Great Texas Freeze" that saw the state's energy grid waver on the brink of collapse while taking weeks to recover.

As the gears of thought-leadership, innovation, and policy churn out solutions to these problems, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission identified the pipeline industry as a critical component to the energy grid infrastructure of the future, but also as an industry that would benefit from increased standardization. 

In testimony before the Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy of the United States House of Representatives, FERC Chairman Richard Glick spoke in favor of a bill that would require FERC to certify an agency to establish reliability standards for pipelines, much like the FERC-approved reliability standards applicable to the electric grid.  And while it may take time for the standards to be finalized, the bill would empower FERC to require the certified agency to draft specific reliability standards and issue temporary emergency standards, while also allowing FERC to enforce those standards.

While the bill is still percolating in the legislature, it is clear from unified efforts underway in separate branches of government that these issues are of high priority in the future. 

Congress should pass legislation to establish mandatory reliability standards on energy pipelines in the face of extreme weather and cyber attacks, the top U.S. energy regulator told lawmakers in written testimony published Tuesday.


environment, esg, energy, cyber security, transport & infrastructure