Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Actby Representative Fred Upton
Posted on 2015-01-21
UPTON. Mr. Speaker, when it comes to natural gas production, we
are number one. What was once a pipe dream is now a global reality,
thanks to American ingenuity and technology. An impressive
accomplishment, especially considering where we were only a decade
ago--fearful of running out of supplies.
With this new wealth of natural gas, folks in Michigan and across the country should no longer worry about access to affordable energy. But budget-busting power bills are still hitting too many Americans.
The New York Times recently reported that customers in New England could expect electricity rates to spike [[Page H454]] close to 40 percent higher this winter. Why? Well, we may have fixed our supply problems, but now we have a serious distribution problem. Our archaic energy infrastructure and outdated regulatory system is blocking American consumers from reaping the benefits of our energy abundance. We have the gas, but we don't have the pipelines to get cheap energy directly to families and businesses that need it most.
This legislation seeks to fix the problem, inserting accountability into the permitting process for natural gas pipelines and establishing firm deadlines for agency reviews. It does not exempt any environmental laws. It just makes sure pipeline projects get sited and built without unnecessary delay.
Last night, the President here made the case for more Federal funding of transportation infrastructure projects like roads and bridges as one way to create jobs while modernizing our economy. But the energy infrastructure projects unleashed by this pipeline bill are every bit as necessary, with all of the economic benefits, and the best part is, since they will be paid for by the private sector, it won't cost taxpayers a dime.
We voted on this legislation last Congress, and it passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support. With the President's comments last night about wanting to work with Congress, I hope the President can join us in supporting this bipartisan, commonsense energy and jobs solution. Now that we are the leader in energy production, there is no reason America shouldn't be number one in energy affordability as well.