The Review Process for Priority Energy Projects Should Be Expedited

Gao ID: EMD-80-6 October 15, 1979

The proposed crude oil pipeline from Long Beach, California, to Midland, Texas (PACTEX), considered to be in the national interest because it would distribute the West Coast surplus of Alaska North Slope crude oil, was abandoned by its sponsor after almost 5 years of work. Increased project costs and adverse effects from delays in obtaining permits and litigation were cited as reasons for abandoning the project. PACTEX was examined as a case study to identify the problems and issues associated with obtaining the necessary permits for a major energy transportation system. Various federal and state agencies were contacted and reports, studies, laws, regulations, proposed legislation, and procedures related to the permit process were reviewed.

The most serious problem encountered was in obtaining state and local air quality permits for the terminal in California. Although the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the states are responsible for implementing the Clean Air Act and its amendments, neither EPA nor California has established clear requirements to be met by companies desiring to install facilities that will contribute to air pollution. Such guidance is not only needed, but should be expected if all levels of government are to fulfill the leadership responsibilities essential for effective air pollution control.


Our recommendations from this work are listed below with a Contact for more information. Status will change from "In process" to "Open," "Closed - implemented," or "Closed - not implemented" based on our follow up work.

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