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Permitting reform must be comprehensive, Williams CEO tells Bloomberg

Staff Reports

Alix Steel at Bloomberg News interviewed Williams President and CEO Alan Armstrong this week about why the lack of energy infrastructure in the U.S. is hurting consumers, despite America’s abundant natural gas supply. The key to solving this issue, Armstrong said, is a reformed permitting process to expand infrastructure and meet clean energy demand.  

“Really getting it done such that we can move ahead with very effectively building out the infrastructure in the U.S. – both for the sake of natural gas pipelines and renewables – we’ve got a lot of changes that need to be made and it’s a very complex issue,” he said. “I don’t think that there will be support for anything that is not comprehensive and detailed enough to make it happen.”

As Congress returned from recess after Labor Day, the industry is watching how a bipartisan permitting reform plan shapes up for energy infrastructure projects. Permitting reform was part of the Inflation Reduction Act approved this summer. Consumers have seen increased energy costs due in large part to lack of adequate natural gas infrastructure to serve growing demand.

“We have plenty of low-cost gas supplies here in the U.S., but if we don’t have the pipeline to get it from those places like the Marcellus and the Utica to the points of consumption, people are going to be really upset this winter when they realize that their utility bills are up – not because we don’t have low-cost gas here in the U.S. and not because we are exporting it on an LNG basis – but because we keep standing in our own way to get critical infrastructure built.”

The U.S. has plenty of natural gas supplies, Armstrong said, to meet long-term demand both domestically and abroad, while helping reduce emissions around the world by displacing the use of heavy-carbon fuels in other countries.

Watch the full interview here.