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Proposed bill would expedite pipeline approvals

Keywords: Tags  steel pipe, oil pipelines, gas pipelines, Keystone XL, Thorsten Schier

NEW YORK — Legislation that would expedite the approval of cross-border oil and natural gas pipelines will be considered next week by the House Energy and Power Subcommittee.

The bill would require agencies to make decisions on cross-border pipelines within 120 days of submission. Oil pipelines would be approved by the Commerce Department and natural gas pipelines by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Under the bill, environmental review would remain a requirement but would no longer be a prerequisite for approval.

TransCanada Corp.’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline from the Alberta oil sands to Cushing, Okla., has been mired in the cross-border approval process for five years. Pipe industry sources have said approval of the line could boost long-term orders (, Sept. 30).

Under the proposed legislation, existing pipelines would not need further approval for modifications such as the reversal of flow direction, volume expansion or adjustments to maintain flow.

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