Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Actby Representative Gene Green
Posted on 2015-01-21
GREEN of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in opposition to
H.R. 161, a bill that claims to expedite applications for construction
of natural gas pipelines in the United States.
First, let me say as a native Houstonian and as a Democrat, I support American energy development.
The energy revolution that has taken place over the last decade is unlike anything I've seen in my lifetime.
The natural gas plays currently developed in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Texas are solely responsible for the recovery the U.S. has seen.
Low natural gas prices have given our industries an advantage over international competitors.
Low natural gas prices have given our homeowners cheaper electric bills.
Low natural gas prices have resulted in lower emissions and smaller contributions to climate change.
To reap those benefits, however, we need pipelines to move that product from the field to market.
I can confidently say, I am a big supporter of pipelines.
The stacks of raw materials and finished pipe in my district are probably unlike any other district in the country.
Pipelines are the most economically efficient and environmentally sound method of moving oil and natural.
I am an advocate of building more pipelines.
I have co-sponsored legislation to build domestic and international pipelines to facilitate energy development.
I have advocated for expediting the application process, so that our federal agencies provide private investors certainty.
Unfortunately, I cannot support H.R. 161.
While I am an advocate of all things natural gas, I am not in favor of completely circumventing the permitting process.
About a decade ago, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which has jurisdiction over pipeline approvals, had some issues.
We worked closely with the industry and the agency to improve the processes and timelines so that we could get pipe built in this country quickly.
FERC has done an admirable job working with industry and other key stakeholders to improve the process.
Currently, FERC approves the majority of permits in less than 18-to- 24 months.
Where there are problems and delays with other permits, namely at the local and state level and FERC is working to resolve those issues.
Unfortunately, this bill does nothing to address those issues.
This bill sets a timeline for FERC and if that timeline expires, then any permit is approved.
Our federal agencies have an oversight role to play and allowing permit applications to essentially ``run out the clock'' when issues arise is a way to circumvent our federal process.
In Energy and Commerce, we put a lot of work into this bill and I want to thank my colleagues for working closely with our side.
[[Page H458]] But, I cannot support H.R. 161 and I urge my colleagues to oppose the bill as well.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. All time for debate has expired.
Pursuant to House Resolution 38, the previous question is ordered on the bill.
The question is on the engrossment and third reading of the bill.
The bill was ordered to be engrossed and read a third time, and was read the third time.
Motion to Recommit Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, I have a motion to recommit at the desk.