As part of a new initiative to accelerate ongoing conservation efforts, the American Petroleum Institute (API) released new guidelines in February to help pipeline and energy infrastructure operators like Shell Pipeline to advance conservation practices for pipeline right-of-ways (ROW). The new conservation guidelines build upon ongoing industry investment in conservation projects and commitment to community engagement, as outlined in API’s Community Engagement Guidelines. The latest conservation guidelines provide a roadmap for implementing best practices while meeting safety standards to help ensure the nation’s more than 2.6 million miles of pipelines operate under a lower-emissions footprint and that habitats and wildlife in surrounding areas are sustained for generations to come.

“It’s important to Shell Pipeline that we are weaving these conservation guidelines that promote biodiversity and natural carbon sequestration in with the maintenance and operation of our pipeline right-of-way,” said Steve Ledbetter, President, Shell Pipeline Company LP, and President and CEO, Shell Midstream Partners GP, LLC. “It’s our goal to be a leader in conservation techniques for right-of-way maintenance for the midstream industry and there’s an opportunity for us to collaborate with other industry players to scale this work.”

“With thousands of miles of pipelines crisscrossing the country, our latest guidelines provide strategies for the industry to build upon ongoing conservation efforts, further engage in local communities, and restore land areas surrounding operations in a manner that protects and often enhances the surrounding environment,” API Vice President of Midstream Policy Robin Rorick said. “The guidelines give pipeline operators innovative tools and conservation techniques to address environmental and climate challenges, from tackling invasive species in the Mid-Atlantic and erosion in the Gulf Coast to reducing emissions across the country. Working with conservation groups and local communities, our industry is committed to enhancing and protecting habitats and wildlife all over the United States while operating under a lower-emissions footprint.”

The API Guidance for Conservation Programs on Pipeline Right-of-Ways provides midstream operators with a resource to strengthen their conservation efforts. The guidelines outline recommended best practices for developing and delivering sustainable conservation programs, offering tools to help engage local communities in the conservation process and helping operators improve their presence in the communities in which they operate. Conservation programs take a value-driven approach to ROW land management, enhancing safety and operational efficiency while working to improve the community and environment where pipeline operators live and work.

“Shell Pipeline recently participated in The Wildflower Energy Project in St. Mary Parish and planted wildflowers on pipeline and electric power line right-of-ways that serves as a great model for these guidelines,” said Donnie Garrison, Conversation Taskforce Chair, “With over 500,000 miles of oil and natural gas transmission pipelines throughout the United States, utilizing these guidelines throughout the industry will have an enormous and positive benefit to the communities and environment in which we operate and to the Nation as a whole.”

These conservation guidelines include adaptable best practices on using vegetation management, habitat management, and coastal management techniques to allow pipeline operators to develop a program tailored to their environment and conservation goals, like protecting an endangered species, improving biodiversity or fighting erosion. Offering assessments, best practices and innovative techniques, the guidelines illustrate the natural gas and oil industry’s ongoing commitment to environmental protection and stewardship.

The full text of API Guidance for Conservation Programs on Pipeline Right-of-Ways can be found here.

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