Brookings Institution. January 17, 2014.

Less than one decade ago, it was conventional wisdom that the United States was becoming the largest importer of natural gas in the world. Hundreds of millions of dollars were invested to prepare the country for imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG). Today, because of the large-scale extraction of natural gas from shale rock layers, policy debates in the U.S., like the industry, have taken a U-turn. Discussions no longer focus on security of supply for the United States, but rather on the question how long domestic prices will remain low and attract energy-intensive industries and jobs, and the lucrative promise of exports of natural gas to Asian and European markets. [Note: contains copyrighted material]. [PDF format, 8 pages].

Congressional Research Service. November 19, 2013.

Growth in U.S. shale gas production involves the expansion of natural gas pipeline infrastructure to transport natural gas from producing regions to consuming markets, typically in other states. Over 300,000 miles of interstate transmission pipeline already transport natural gas across the United States. However, if the growth in U.S. shale gas continues, the requirement for new pipelines could be substantial. This ongoing expansion has increased congressional interest in the role of the federal government in the certification (permitting) of interstate natural gas pipelines. [PDF format, 17 pages].

Congressional Research Service. July 18, 2013.

Portions of all 50 states and the District of Columbia are vulnerable to earthquake hazards, although risks vary greatly across the country and within individual states. Seismic hazards are greatest in the western United States, particularly in California, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska and Hawaii. California has more citizens and infrastructure at risk than any other state because of the state’s frequent seismic activity combined with its large population and developed infrastructure. The United States faces the possibility of large economic losses from earthquake-damaged buildings and infrastructure. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has estimated that earthquakes cost the United States, on average, over $5 billion per year. [PDF format, 26 pages].

U.S. Department of Energy. July 2013.

Since the start of the 20th century, average annual temperatures across the contiguous United States have increased approximately 1.5°F (0.8°C). These trends, which are expected to continue, could restrict the supply of secure, sustainable, and affordable energy critical to the nation’s economic growth. At least three major climate trends are relevant to the energy sector: Increasing air and water temperatures; Decreasing water availability in some regions and seasons; and Increasing intensity and frequency of storm events, flooding, and sea level rise. This report examines current and potential future impacts of these climate trends on the U.S. energy sector. It identifies activities underway to address these challenges and discusses potential opportunities to enhance energy technologies that are more climate-resilient, as well as information, stakeholder engagement, and policies and strategies to further enable their deployment. [PDF format, 84 pages].

Center for American Progress. July 1, 2013.

Natural disasters leave communities devastated, often in desperate need of assistance to rebuild shattered homes and lives. As city leaders lay plans to repair broken bridges, roads, and hospitals in the aftermath of a storm, they have a rare moment to rethink the design of their communities and infrastructure and to rebuild with resilience to future storms in mind. Without such foresight, city leaders risk inadvertently reconstructing electric grids, public transportation, and other critical infrastructure in ways that leave communities vulnerable to future storm damages. Building on the president’s Climate Action Plan, the authors recommend that federal, state, and local officials take the following four actions to rebuild better after Sandy and prepare for future superstorms: increase federal climate preparedness and resilience investments to save billions of dollars in disaster damages and costs; make resilience a core aspect of all federal disaster assistance; increase community and infrastructure resilience; and give decision makers ready access to the climate-change risk information they need. [Note: contains copyrighted material]. Summary [PDF format, 7 pages]. Full-text [PDF format, 35 pages].