Thursday, July 20, 2017

House passes bills to streamline permitting process for some oil, gas and electric lines

Construction workers lay a natural gas pipeline.
(Natural Gas Now photo)
The House of Representatives voted July 19 to streamline the federal permitting process for some oil and natural-gas pipelines, Timothy Cama reports for The Hill. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas), would designate the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as the lead agency for approving permits for interstate gas pipelines.

The House also passed a bill by Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.), that would put FERC (instead of the State Department) in charge of electric transmission lines and oil and gas pipelines that cross the Mexican or Canadian border. The president would no longer be required to issue permits for cross-border lines, a move that would prevent future presidents from delaying projects as Barack Obama did with the Keystone XL pipeline.

Congressional Republicans say streamlining the review process will encourage timely decisions about pipelines, which will in turn create jobs and stimulate the economy. Democratic critics say that streamlining approvals is unnecessary because FERC already approves 90 percent of gas pipelines a year.

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