Pompeo reintroduces gas pipeline permitting reform bill

US Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) reintroduced legislation he offered in 2014 to help improve federal processing of applications to construct natural gas pipelines. The bill, HR 161, aims to overcome delays when other federal agencies fail to move quickly during the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s review process.

US Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) reintroduced legislation he offered in 2014 to help improve federal processing of applications to construct natural gas pipelines. The bill, HR 161, aims to overcome delays when other federal agencies fail to move quickly during the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s review process.

“It is critical that the process for reviewing gas pipelines is modernized, especially as gas becomes more prevalent as a source of electricity generation,” Pompeo, a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, said Jan. 6 as he introduced the measure.

Interstate Natural Gas Association of America Pres. Donald F. Santa expressed the organization’s support for the bill in a Jan. 7 letter to Pompeo.

The 2005 Energy Policy Act designated FERC as lead agency for issuing federal permits for gas pipelines, but did not give it the necessary power to enforce deadlines for other federal agencies to act, Santa noted.

“It is important to note that the time allowed for action by permitting agencies prescribed by the legislation does not begin to toll until after FERC has completed its environmental review under [the National Environmental Policy Act],” he said.

A pipeline project developer has been in consultations with both FERC and the permitting agencies for 12 to 18 months, and sometimes longer by the point in the process, Santa explained. “It is therefore entirely reasonable to expect that a permitting agency will be in a position to make a final decision within 90 days of completion of the NEPA review” as the bill would require.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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