On Tuesday, April 21 the Obama Administration released the first Quadrennial Energy Review (“QER”) as a component of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan.  The extensive report analyzes energy infrastructure in the United States, and “identifies the threats, risks, and opportunities for U.S. energy and climate security, enabling the federal government to translate policy goals into a set of integrated actions.”  The primary purpose of the QER is to “modernize” the U.S. energy sector by replacing crumbling infrastructure, by increasing reliance on domestic energy sources, and by implementing a “clean energy economy built to last.”

The report highlights the United States’ complex and advanced energy production system, and includes descriptions and analysis of the different energy sectors.  For example, the report notes that the U.S. is the world’s leading producer of oil and natural gas, and the country is less dependent on foreign oil than it has been in over 40 years.

The QER emphasizes the need for restoring natural gas transmission pipelines because natural gas has begun to replace coal as a source of electricity generation.  Aging natural gas pipelines may pose environmental and human health hazards because older natural gas pipes can be leak-prone, which carries a risk of explosion.  The QER estimates that the cost to replace at-risk pipes and institute a maintenance system will be approximately $2.5-3.5 billion.  This should be a “national priority,” according the Obama Administration.

By Mike Mills (michael.mills@stoel.com) and Shannon Morrissey.  Ms. Morrissey is a Law Clerk with Stoel Rives LLP and is not currently licensed to practice law in California.