Hoeven Introduces Legislation to Streamline Energy Project Approvals
Senator’s Bills Would Provide Certainty for Cross-Border Energy Facilities, Streamline Multi-Agency NEPA Reviews for Natural Gas Projects
WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, this week introduced two pieces of legislation to expand U.S. domestic energy production and enhance the energy security of America and its allies. This includes the:
- North American Energy Act – This bill would prevent unnecessary delays for important cross-border energy projects, such as pipelines and electrical transmission lines.
- Promoting Interagency Coordination for Review of Natural Gas Projects Act – This legislation would streamline and set deadlines for multi-agency National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) reviews of natural gas projects needed to get energy to market.
“Energy security is national security, and these bills are about ensuring we can produce more energy, both here at home and in partnership with our close friend and ally Canada, while building the facilities needed to get energy to market,” said Hoeven. “The Biden administration’s unilateral action to revoke the Keystone XL permit and burdensome environmental policies hinder needed energy development, causing higher prices and inflation for consumers. Instead, our legislation will streamline the review process and hold federal agencies accountable with set deadlines, helping create certainty for project developers and leading to a more energy secure nation.”
Advancing Cross-Border Energy Projects
Hoeven’s North American Energy Act replaces the Presidential Permit requirement for cross-border energy projects and puts the decision-making into the hands of the appropriate agencies. The legislation would set the process in statute, providing a clear and timely regulatory path. Specifically, the bill:
- Transfers the approval authority from the U.S. State Department to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for cross-border oil pipelines.
- Retains FERC authority over cross-border natural gas pipelines as well as U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) authority over cross-border electrical transmission facilities.
- Imposes a 90-day time limit on FERC and DOE to either issue a certificate of crossing or deny a project approval following completion of the NEPA review.
- Focuses the federal review to the segment of an infrastructure project that crosses the border.
- Clarifies that certain pipeline maintenance activities and modifications do not require a new certificate of crossing.
The legislation is cosponsored by Senators Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.), Ted Budd (R-N.C.) and Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska). A companion to the bill was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-N.D.). The full text of the legislation can be found here.
Streamlining Multi-Agency NEPA Reviews for Natural Gas Projects
Under the Energy Policy Act of 2005, FERC is designated as the lead agency for coordinating necessary NEPA reviews and associated federal authorizations for interstate natural gas pipelines and liquified natural gas (LNG) terminals. Despite this authority, unnecessary delays continue to impact major projects, in part due to a lack of coordination or lack of timely action among agencies involved in the permitting process.
To address this issue, Hoeven’s Promoting Interagency Coordination for Review of Natural Gas Projects Act:
- Requires FERC to set a schedule and encourage participating agencies to conduct concurrent reviews.
- Ensures participating agencies are deferential to FERC in determining the scope of the project-related NEPA review.
- Sets a 90-day deadline for the issuance of federal authorizations following FERC’s completion of its NEPA review.
The legislation is cosponsored by Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska). A companion to the bill was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas). The full text of the legislation can be found here.
Next Article Previous Article