In the United States there have been several attempts to stimulate improvements in America's energy infrastructure. One was the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002, which outlined specific pipeline system checks to ensure the integrity and security of existing pipelines. It also set a goal of reducing the number of hazardous pipeline incidents by 5 percent each year, with a target number of 295 for 2005. (Unfortunately, the United States in 2005 was more than 100 incidents above this goal.) On the electrical energy front, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 also established reliability standards for electricity utilities to follow and initiatives for modernizing the electrical grid. The act also extended daylight savings time in the United States by four weeks on the presumption that Americans will use less electricity if daylight is available for a longer period.
In addition, in 2001 the U.S. vice president, Dick Cheney, a former chief executive officer of the energy contractor Halliburton Company, led a task force called the National Energy Policy Development (NEPD) Group, which made recommendations to the president for a new national energy policy. Among its recommendations were suggestions for updating America's energy infrastructure, including the following:
• That the secretary of energy work with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to improve the reliability of the interstate electricity transmission system and develop laws to enforce compliance
• That the secretary of energy examine the benefits of a national electrical grid and identify transmission bottlenecks and ways to remove them
• That the renewal of the lease of the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline System (which is responsible for a fifth of all oil transported throughout the United States) be expedited to ensure an uninterrupted flow of Alaskan oil into the U.S. West Coast
• That the federal government, the state of Alaska, and Canada work together to expedite the construction of a natural gas pipeline from Alaska and Canada to the lower 48 states, repealing any portions of the Alaska Natural Gas Transportation Act of 1976 that discourage investment in new infrastructure.42
The report offers background and recommendations on U.S. energy infrastructure issues. However, the group's overall findings were controversial because environmentalists and watchdog agencies, pointing to the oil industry background of Vice President Cheney, suspected that the interests of the fossil fuel industry had too much influence on its recommendations. The NEPD Group was dismantled after making its recommendations.
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