Planning for the Development of Natural Gas Transmission Pipeline Infrastructure
Gordon, Travis Theodore Rechlin
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Natural gas pipeline infrastructure has been developing in the United States at increased rates in recent years. This is due in part to developments in natural gas exploration techniques, as well as the rising cost of other forms of fuel. While there are thousands of miles of natural gas pipelines already in existence in the United States, more are being developed. Consequently, more land will be disturbed and more physical infrastructure will be required to ensure safe and reliable delivery of natural gas. Planners in communities planning for natural gas must understand how the natural gas pipeline industry works. Knowledge of land use, and the physical implications of the process is critical in planning for natural gas transmission pipeline infrastructure development. In order to address the question of how to plan for natural gas transmission pipeline infrastructure development, an analysis of three communities that have recently experienced this growth in their areas was conducted. Recommendations for planners who are tasked with similar planning situations are illustrated using the findings from the three case studies. In studying the three communities, it was determined that there are numerous ways that communities can plan for natural gas transmission pipeline infrastructure development. Some communities may choose to develop methods to forecast and prevent pipeline related incidents from happening. Some communities may focus on public awareness of natural gas pipeline infrastructure; while others may concentrate on design guidelines of physical infrastructure and legislation associated with the use of public infrastructure. There is no one size fits all method to plan for natural gas pipeline infrastructure development. The techniques of planning for natural gas pipeline infrastructure development must be adapted to satisfy the needs and concerns of communities starting the planning process. Planners, as well as other interested citizens, would be wise to consider the actions implemented by the referenced communities when preparing for projects in their own communities.