Economics. Environment. Supply and Demand. Regulations. Business.

Pipeline buildout in the Northeastern U.S. involves each of these factors to go from a plan on a map to reality.

While the boom of natural gas production in the Marcellus and Utica shale plays has cooled somewhat, due to commodity pricing of imports, the supply still exists – and demand from consumers and businesses to heat and cool their homes and facilities is ongoing.

While it can be a long process, the safest way to transport natural gas produced in the Northeast is by pipeline. This includes smaller pipelines to nearby states, as well as major, transcontinental pipelines across the country to the hub of gas refinement and exporting on the Gulf Coast.

Many large pipelines already exist under our feet, crisscrossing Pennsylvania, West Virginia. Maryland, and Ohio. Some companies are planning to build new pipelines alongside the existing ones. Others are planning to reverse the direction the gas flows in existing pipelines – from North to South, instead of the other way around, and need to update the pipeline infrastructure to do so.

What’s important to know about pipeline buildout in the Northeast is how much local, state, and federal governments care about the safe and smart development of this infrastructure.

That’s where RETTEW comes in. Before construction begins, the pipeline’s owner must go through several steps to detail its plans, put safety contingencies in place, and meet permitting requirements.

Those steps include:

  • Surveying property boundaries
  • Routing pipelines with elevations and gradients on a map
  • Researching endangered species that may be affected by construction
  • Creating spill response plans in case of emergency
  • Identifying any underground utilities before building
  • Evaluating historic and cultural impacts
  • Ensuring environmental impacts are at a minimum
  • Investigating geologic stability
  • Creating site development plans
  • Educating the many stakeholders involved

Regulations are tough, and they should be. We are balancing our needs as consumers to keep our families safe and healthy with our responsibility to protect the environment and support smart and safe infrastructure development in our country.