H.R. 3301, the North American Energy Infrastructure Act

May 8, 2014

The North American Energy Infrastructure Act is a bipartisan effort to create a more modern and efficient cross-border approval process for oil pipelines, natural gas pipelines, and electric transmission lines that traverse the borders of the United States. Implementing a fair and standardized approval process for cross-border energy projects will help bring certainty to the regulatory process, encourage investment in job-creating energy infrastructure and facilitate trade with our Canadian and Mexican allies. Importantly, this legislation will remove barriers to constructing the Architecture of Abundance necessary to realize our full energy potential and achieve North American energy independence.

The North American Energy Infrastructure Act:

  • Consolidates and standardizes the cross-border approval process for oil pipelines, natural gas pipelines, and electric transmission lines, replacing and superseding the current processes that have been created in an ad hoc fashion through multiple Executive Orders.
  • Eliminates the Presidential Permit requirement for construction or modification of oil and natural gas pipelines and electric transmission facilities that cross the national boundary of the U.S.
  • Requires a “certificate of crossing” for construction of any segment of an oil pipeline or electric transmission line that crosses the border of the U.S. with Canada or Mexico. This certificate of crossing is subject to NEPA review and cannot be issued until final NEPA action.
  • Requires the agency to issue a “certificate of crossing” within 120 days upon completion of NEPA unless the agency finds construction of the cross-border segment is not in the “public interest” of the U.S.
  • Requires approval under section 3 of the Natural Gas Act for natural gas cross-border pipelines, consistent with current policy.
  • Provides that the “certificate of crossing” will be issued by the Secretary of State for oil pipelines, the Department of Energy for electric transmission lines, and FERC will continue to approve cross-border natural gas pipelines.
  • Specifies that existing projects do not need further approvals, including new or revised Presidential Permits, for modifications such as reversal of flow direction, volume expansion or adjustments to maintain flow or in cases of changes in ownership.
  • Removes the unnecessary requirement for Department of Energy approval to export or import natural gas by pipeline to or from Mexico or Canada.
  • Has an effective date of July 1, 2015, and specifically addresses how currently pending applications shall be handled.