Senators’ bill aims to curb flaring by expediting permit process

North Dakota and Wyoming’s US senators introduced legislation that aims to capture methane and reduce flaring by expediting procedures for obtaining permits for natural gas gathering lines on federal and Indian lands.

North Dakota and Wyoming’s US senators introduced legislation that aims to capture methane and reduce flaring by expediting procedures for obtaining permits for natural gas gathering lines on federal and Indian lands.

The measure sponsored by John A. Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Michael B. Enzi (R-Wyo.), and John Hoeven (R-ND) would reduce flaring by making it easier to site gas gathering lines on federal and tribal acreage, its sponsors said.

Specifically, it would eliminate duplicative environmental reviews for gas gathering lines that are adjacent to or within an existing disturbed area or existing right-of-way corridor on federal and Indian land.

It also would require the US Interior Secretary to issue rights-of-way for gas gathering lines on federal land within 90 days unless the secretary finds the right-of-way would violate the Species Act or the National Historic Preservation Act.

The secretary also would be required to consult with states and tribes, and to report annually to Congress on progress made in expediting approval of permits and construction of gas gathering lines on federal and tribal land and identify obstacles impeding that progress.

“Rather than issuing more regulations, which will further drive oil and gas production off federal and Indian land, the [US] Department of the Interior should meet its current responsibilities,” said Barrasso, who is an Energy and Natural Resources Committee member. “That includes issuing rights-of-way for natural gas gathering lines on federal and Indian land in a timely manner.”

Heitkamp said, “Part of committing to an all-of-the-above energy strategy means staying mindful of commonsense solutions. We can do that by preventing our energy resources from getting unnecessarily bogged down by government red-tape.”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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