GAO’s reports and testimonies give Congress, federal agencies, and the public timely, fact-based, non-partisan information that can improve government operations and save taxpayers billions of dollars.
The interstate pipeline system that transports natural gas has generally been reliable, but interruptions can be serious. For example, 7,000 homes and businesses in Rhode Island didn't have heat during a weeklong service outage in January 2019.
In 2019, about 39% of U.S. natural gas exports went through export facilities—in which the gas is liquefied and loaded onto ships for transport. Multiple federal agencies regulate export facility design.
The 2015 Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act sought to streamline and improve the federal environmental review of and authorization process for 10 kinds of major infrastructure projects, including pipelines and renewable energy production.
Natural gas is stored underground, often in old oil fields near cities. This proximity helps meet peak demand quickly but also makes leaks more problematic. One near Los Angeles in 2015 led 8,000 families to leave their homes for weeks.
Congress created the Strategic Petroleum Reserve more than 4 decades ago to release oil during supply disruptions and protect the U.S. economy.
In this testimony, we noted that since then, oil has been released 11 times in response to domestic disruptions, including 6 caused by hurricanes.