Hoeven, Donnelly Reintroduce Legislation to Reduce Delays in Cross-Border Energy Infrastructure Projects

Measure Would Prevent the Unreasonable Delay of Projects like Keystone XL

WASHINGTON – Senators John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) today introduced the North American Energy Infrastructure Act, a measure that will prevent unnecessarily protracted delays for important energy infrastructure projects like the Keystone XL pipeline, electrical transmission lines and natural gas pipelines. The Keystone XL pipeline is now in its sixth year of review following a series of favorable environmental impact studies (EIS) supporting approval of the project and a Congressional legislation approving it.

The North American Energy Infrastructure Act would eliminate the Presidential Permit requirement for projects crossing the national boundary between the United States and Canada or Mexico and puts the decision making into the hands of appropriate agencies. The legislation also:

  • Imposes a 120-day time limit on the U.S. State Department to either issue a certificate of crossing or deny a project approval following completion of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process.
  • Focuses the NEPA process to the federal section of the pipeline – the portion that crosses the border and recognizes that the states are the ones to regulate the siting of pipelines within their boundaries.
  • Expedites natural gas pipeline permits to Canada or Mexico by requiring the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to approve the permit within 30 days of receipt and
  • Streamlines the electrical transmission permits by consolidating two separate DOE reviews into one determination. 

“We can produce more energy than we use, but we can’t get to the point of energy independence without the infrastructure necessary to achieve it,” Hoeven said. “Energy infrastructure projects are too important to our economy and our national security to be dragged out, virtually for years in the case of the Keystone XL pipeline. We need a process that is fact-based, transparent and nonpartisan – a process that serves the interests of the American people now and into the future. Our bill achieves that goal.”

Donnelly said, “The years-long consideration of the Keystone XL pipeline proves we need to streamline the process for approval of energy infrastructure projects, so that they are not subject to endless, unnecessary delays. Investing in our energy economy is an essential part our country’s economic successes and is critical to our national security. I thank Senator Hoeven for continuing to work with me on this issue important to our energy security.”

The text of the Hoeven-Donnelly measure can be found here.