Two NPGA members among federal grant award recipients

The Village of Stuart, Neb., and the City of Trinidad, Colo., were recently awarded federal grant funding for natural gas pipeline projects announced by U.S. Secretary Pete Buttigieg and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) as part of $196 million in grants for 37 projects across 19 states.

Both communities are members of the National Public Gas Agency (NPGA), the wholesale natural gas supply organization of NMPP Energy. The award for the Village of Stuart was presented at a press conference by Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen, Nebraska U.S. Senator Deb Fischer and representatives from PHMSA and the American Public Gas Association. The City of Trinidad was presented with their award May 5.

The new Natural Gas Distribution Infrastructure Safety and Modernization grant program provides nearly $1 billion in funding over the course of five years to modernize municipally and community-owned natural gas distribution pipes. The award is part of the bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

The Village of Stuart and City of Trinidad were among six NPGA members that applied for grants totaling more than $6 million in this first round of applications. The next funding opportunity of $392 million is expected to be released in May 2023.

Stuart’s grant award of $216,662 will be used for local natural gas pipeline replacement, including pipeline valves, the implementation of an Automated Metering Infrastructure system and Global Positioning System. Trinidad’s award of more than $92,000 will be used to replace a portion of its local pipeline system.

Last year NPGA held a workshop for its member communities that focused on grant funding opportunities through PHMSA’s grant program for publicly-owned utilities.

“It’s great to see two of our six NPGA member utilities that applied be selected in this first round of grant funding awards,” said Beth Ackland, NPGA director of gas operations. “For small utilities, applying for federal grant funding is a significant effort due to staffing limitations, so it makes it especially rewarding to see our member utilities get rewarded. Hopefully, more of our NPGA members will be rewarded in future rounds of funding through this program.”