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July 10, 2013

House Committee Approves Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act

On July 10, 2013, the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Energy and Power Subcommittee approved the Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act (H.R. 1900) by a vote of 17-9 and over the objection of several Democrats. The bipartisan bill, which is authored by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.), seeks to expedite and modernize the natural gas pipeline permitting process.  If it becomes law, the bill would impose on FERC a 12-month deadline, starting at the time public notice of the pipeline application is provided, to approve or deny a project.  The bill also would provide short deadlines (90 to 120 days) on all other relevant agencies following FERC's issuance of its final environmental document.  Failure to abide by the timelines would result in a project being deemed approved. As aptly put by Rep. Mike Pompeo,
"This is a bipartisan piece of legislation that is aimed at making some pretty simple, commonsense reforms to the natural gas pipeline permitting process.  The legislation simply gives companies looking to invest in gas pipeline infrastructure some degree of certainty regarding how long a permitting process will take and brings the statute up to date given current demands for pipeline infrastructure."

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