H.R. 1900, the Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act

July 17, 2013

Authored by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS)

H.R. 1900, the Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act, is bipartisan legislation that aims to expedite the federal review process for natural gas pipeline permit applications.

America is facing a number of infrastructure challenges as domestic natural gas production continues to increase and as gas gains a greater market share of the nation’s electricity portfolio. Pipeline infrastructure has failed to keep pace with increased production and several regions of the country are facing a shortage of pipeline capacity to support increased gas-electric generation. The regulatory process continues to delay the construction of this critical infrastructure despite attempts to strengthen and streamline the permitting process in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPACT).

EPACT designated the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as the lead agency charged with reviewing natural gas pipeline project applications. Despite the increased authority given to FERC, permitting delays still persist. The Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act would modernize the review process by establishing firm timelines for the review of natural gas pipeline permit applications. Specifically, the legislation would:

  • Require that FERC approve or deny a requested pipeline certificate no later than 12 months after receiving a complete application that is ready to be processed;
  • Codify FERC’s requirements that all relevant agencies approve or deny a permit application within 90 days after FERC’s notice of completion of the final environmental document with the possibility of a 30 day extension for certain situations; and
  • Require that a permit shall go into effect if an agency fails to issue a response within the scheduled timeframes with an allowance for the agency to submit conditions to be incorporated into the permit if they are consistent with the final environmental document.

This commonsense legislation would strengthen the reforms made in EPACT while preserving the critical environmental review processes necessary for each natural gas pipeline project.

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