Pursuant to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in the captioned proceeding on May 18, 2006, INGAA submits the following comments addressing the Commission’s proposed regulations for coordinating the processing of Federal authorizations for natural gas infrastructure projects subject to sections 3 and 7 of the Natural Gas Act (“NGA”).
Overall, INGAA strongly supports the spirit and intent of the proposed action and commends the Commission for exploring opportunities to effectively exercise its new authorities granted under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct). Early coordination is by far the most effective instrument for identifying those issues that might potentially undermine or delay a project. Hence, it is in all stakeholders’ interest to encourage and support such efforts.While INGAA is generally supportive, there are certain facets of the proposal that need clarification. In particular, INGAA urges the Commission to consider the need for flexibility to account for those circumstances were it is not practicable to submit a request for a federal authorization prior to submitting a timely Application for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (“Application”) with the Commission. Such flexibility is needed for those federal agency authorizations that may require extensive lead times and large amounts of detailed data that is not known at the time the Commission filing is made. INGAA proposes that the Commission clarify that an applicant’s failure to submit a complete Exhibit J – Federal Authorizations would not be cause for rejecting the application. Additionally, there are cases where a Federal permit application or authorization involves extensive coordination prior to its submittal and is, in all practicality, a negotiated process up until the very end.