Senator Manchin calls on Secretary Brouillette to release update on Appalachian Storage Hub report

Washington, D.C. (WOAY) – Yesterday, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Ranking Member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, requested an update from U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette on a Congressionally-sanctioned report of a proposed Appalachian Storage Hub. The report was authorized in the Fiscal Year 2020 Appropriations bill and encourages the Department of Energy to conduct a study and issue a report on the national security and economic security benefits of a underground storage facility for natural gas liquids in Appalachia. In 2018, the Department of Energy issued a report titled, “Ethane Storage and Distribution Hub in the United States,” which examined the feasibility of establishing an ethane storage and distribution hub in the United States.

“I believe it’s similarly important as we move forward with this critical project that the Department of Energy study the economic security and national security benefits of geographical diversification of this infrastructure by siting this Hub in Appalachia,” Senator Manchin wrote in part. “I respectfully ask for an update on how the report is progressing and when your team plans to complete this critical report.”

Read the full letter below or click here:

Dear Secretary Brouillette:

I write to respectfully request an update on the Department of Energy’s plans to fulfill a provision of the Fiscal Year 2020 (FY 2020) Appropriations bill (P.L. 116-94) to report on the economic and security benefits of an underground storage facility for natural gas liquids (NGLs) in Appalachia.

We have spoken before about the proposed underground storage facility for NGLs, including ethane, also known as the “Appalachian Storage Hub,” and how it has the potential to be a game-changer for not just the Appalachian region, but the nation. The DOE had previously studied the feasibility of establishing an ethane storage and distribution hub in the United States and found that it would have economic and strategic benefits, particularly given the current concentration of infrastructure in the Gulf Coast. This is in addition the potential to create 100,000 much needed jobs in Appalachia, according to the American Chemistry Council.

I believe it’s similarly important as we move forward with this critical project that the Department study the economic security and national security benefits of geographical diversification of this infrastructure by siting this Hub in Appalachia. These benefits can be maximized through partnerships with domestic businesses and international partners that have America’s best interests at heart. 

This report was called for in the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Report (116-102) on the FY 2020 Energy and Water bill, S.2470 (pg. 107), which encourages the Department, in consultation with the Departments of Defense and Treasury, to issue a report which would identify the potential benefits of a storage and distribution hub to national security, including the identification of potential risks to national and economic security of significant foreign ownership and control of United States domestic petrochemical resources. I respectfully ask for an update on how the report is progressing and when your team plans to complete this critical report.

I appreciate the assistance that your staff have provided to mine and thank you for your attention and distinguished leadership on this critically important process.