U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, recently recognized NiSource Inc. for its pipeline infrastructure modernization and replacement investment at a conference in Pittsburgh.
NiSource companies, including Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania, Inc. and Columbia Gas Transmission, L.L.C., are investing hundreds of millions of dollars each year in energy infrastructure modernization programs. Over the course of the next decade, NiSource said it expects to invest even more in such programs, helping ensure continued reliable and efficient energy delivery, and providing a foundation for job creation and economic growth across its service territory.
LaHood said the Department of Transportation has committed to coordinating with other government entities to identify opportunities to remove overlaps and expedite the regulatory and approval processes without sacrificing safety or lowering industry standards. This comes in accordance with President Obama’s executive order to improve performance of federal permitting and review of infrastructure projects.
“A year ago, I asked pipeline operators to take a hard look at their infrastructure and identify those sections of pipeline that need to be repaired, rehabilitated or replaced to ensure safer and more reliable delivery of energy resources,” said LaHood. “We are happy to help NiSource speed up construction and replace some of the oldest pipelines in the nation, ensuring good jobs and increased safety for people in Pittsburgh, as well as throughout Pennsylvania and the other states that will benefit from this project.”
“At NiSource, we are pleased to play our part in this long-term, nationwide commitment to enhancing America’s core energy infrastructure,” said Jimmy Staton, executive vice president and group CEO of NiSource’s gas transmission and storage business. “We welcome the Department of Transportation’s support in facilitating our investments through an efficient permitting and regulatory review process.”
Over the past several years, NiSource companies have been committed to modernizing the nation’s local utility infrastructure, including replacing more than 1,000 miles of bare steel and cast iron pipelines at its local utilities with more modern, corrosion-resistant materials.
Similar to the modernization programs at its local utilities, NiSource’s Columbia Gas Transmission subsidiary is in the process of launching a program to upgrade its 12,000-mile interstate pipeline system, which serves markets in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions.
Overall, NiSource’s $4 billion, 15-year program will spur job creation and support economic opportunity in Pennsylvania and areas across its footprint, including Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, and Virginia. NiSource estimates that more than 7,000 direct jobs will be created as a result of the program.