Improving Oil and Gas Pipeline Permitting
In recent years, the growth of the natural gas industry has expanded pipeline development into new states and increased the number of permits necessitating review by states and tribes. Pipeline development and maintenance activities often result in both short- and long-term impacts to aquatic resources including wetlands, which can be either temporary or permanent. States and tribes are tasked with working with pipeline project applicants to avoid and minimize impacts to aquatic resources and, where impacts are unavoidable, to reduce long-term damage through mitigation.
To address the growing need for states and tribes to build their permitting capacity, NAWM has developed resources to help staff:
- Understand and overcome common challenges to effective state/tribal pipeline permitting,
- Make transparent state/tribal 401 certification permitting processes and points of access using permitting process maps,
- Identify and adopt best practices,
- Consider cumulative impacts,
- Build shared understanding between parties engaged in the permitting process; and
- Encourage regular, ongoing training of new and existing staff engaged in permit review.
For more information about NAWM’s project, view NAWM’s Pipeline Permitting Project Factsheet and Project Summary Report
Understand and overcome common barriers to pipeline permitting
- Understand common challenges to effective and efficient pipeline permitting at the state level by reviewing the following list of barriers and challenges and matrix of challenges and strategies to overcome these challenges to gather more information to support your capacity-building work.
- Participate in the pre-application phase of pipeline project planning as early and often as possible. Engagement during the planning phase of FERC pipeline development process is not required by many states/tribes, but can be invaluable in guiding decision making, encouraging use of best practices and avoiding delays in §401 certification. This effort often requires relationship building and initiative on the part of the state/tribe to request inclusion.
- Explore potential strategies to build state/tribal pipeline permitting capacity by sharing NAWM's Capacity Building Strategies Document.
Formalize and reach agreement about §401 certification processes at the state and tribal level
- Learn how to create formal, transparent oil and gas permitting process maps to share your state/tribal permitting process with applicants and other parties involved in the planning and permit review activities using NAWM’s Pipeline Permitting Process Mapping Guide
- View examples of state process maps
- Download NAWM’s template process map
- View FERC process maps for interstate natural gas pipeline permitting (external resource)
Learn how to identify, adapt and adopt state/tribal best management practices for different elements of the oil and gas pipeline permitting process.
- Download NAWM’s guide on Considering Best Practices for Managing Pipeline Permitting: A Roadmap for States and Tribes Considering Ways to Incorporate Best Practices into Oil and Gas Permitting Processes. This document includes tips on how to develop a set of BMPs for use in your state/tribe and examples of common BMPs in five areas: administrative, legal/regulatory, planning/pre-application, construction, and post-construction. Links to examples of state BMP documents are included.
- View NAWM's webinar recording "Horizontal Directional Drilling Understanding Context when Reviewing Oil and Gas Pipeline Permit Applications" (10/29/18)
Start thinking about how to better include discussion and incorporation of cumulative impacts into project planning and permit review activities.
- List of Potential Environmental Impacts from Major Oil and Gas Projects
- Learn about ways of thinking about cumulative impacts by reading NAWM's Wetland News Article, entitled "Considering the Cumulative Adverse Effects of Pipeline Development on Wetlands"
- Consider how your state/tribe can provide a framework for documenting impacts from pipeline development and maintenance activities. Learn about existing research and conceptualizations by reading NAWM’s white paper: The Cumulative Adverse Effects of Gas Pipeline Construction and Maintenance on Wetlands: Background and Assessment
- Consider adapting NAWM/BRI’s Cumulative Adverse Effects (CAE) Assessment Model for use in your planning and review processes.
- View NAWM's webinar recording"Cumulative Adverse Effects of Pipeline Development on Wetlands"
Improve communications between your state/tribe and applicants
- Use NAWM’s Improving the Information Pipeline document to help guide discussions with consultants and applicants.
- Learn about creating shared understanding to address complexity by reading NAWM's Wetland News Article, entitled "When My Pig Isn't the Same as Your Pig: Helping State and Tribal Regulators Address Complexity in Linear Oil and Gas Pipeline Development Permitting Processes"
- Get up to speed about the language used to talk about oil and gas pipeline permitting by reviewing these external oil and gas pipeline permitting language resources
- View NAWM’s webinar recording "Improving the Information Pipeline: Working with Consultants during Oil and Gas Pipeline Permitting Processes"
Encourage ongoing and current training for state and tribal permitting staff; share pipeline permitting resources
- Review NAWM’s document on training to improve oil and gas pipeline permitting at the state/tribal level
- View archived recording of NAWM’s Pipeline Permitting 101 Webinar
- FERC online training modules on interstate natural gas pipeline permitting (external resource)
Improving State and Tribal Permitting of Pipeline Projects in the United States
Resources for Oil and Gas Companies and Consultants
Useful External Resources for Oil and Gas Pipeline Permitting