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Congress mulls pipeline approval bill

Keywords: Tags  natural gas pipelines, Mike Pompeo, permitting reform, natural gas, Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act, Interstate Natural Gas Association of America, INGAA, Don Santa Thorsten Schier

NEW YORK — A bill aimed at expediting the approval process of natural gas pipelines has been introduced in Congress by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.).

The Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act, which has bipartisan support, would force the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Ferc) to issue a decision on a natural gas pipeline project "not later than 12 months after providing public notice of the application," according to the bill.

Any other agency also required to issue a "license, permit or approval" for a pipeline would have 90 days to make a decision after the Ferc issues its environmental review, with a possible 30-day extension period.

If no decision is made at that point, "approval shall go into effect," the bill states.

The bill comes as "several regions of the country are facing a shortage of pipeline capacity to support ... increased gas-electric generation," the House Energy and Commerce Committee said.

The Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA) applauded the measure.

"The Pompeo bill is consistent with the principal recommendation from an INGAA foundation report on permitting released in December. ... The report found that, while the Ferc does an effective job of reviewing applications for authority to build new pipelines, the commission currently lacks the authority to enforce permitting deadlines for other federal and state agencies," INGAA president and chief executive officer Donald F. Santa Jr. said.

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