Don Santa, president and CEO of the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America, today lauded Senate introduction of S. 1844 by Senators Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and Angus King (I-ME) to improve interagency coordination in the review of proposed natural gas pipelines:
“We applaud Senators Inhofe and King for introducing this legislation, which will improve the permitting process for interstate natural gas pipelines. Pipelines are a key to realizing the benefits of America’s natural gas revolution because they are the indispensable link between the supply source to the ultimate gas consumer.
“Despite the clear need for new pipelines, the permitting process has become more protracted and challenging. While the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission acts in a timely manner on most proposed applications, roadblocks and delays are becoming commonplace at other federal and state permitting agencies.
“We hope the Senate takes prompt action on this legislation that will facilitate the responsible and orderly development of infrastructure, enabling consumers to enjoy more fully the benefits of America’s abundant and affordable natural gas supply.”
Santa noted that the bill would fulfill the original intent of the National Environmental Policy Act and the Energy Policy Act of 2005 by promoting a coordinated review of proposed natural gas projects. S. 1844 does so by strengthening the role of FERC as the lead agency under NEPA for natural gas projects within its jurisdiction. The bill would encourage concurrent review of permit applications by the multiple federal and state agencies. The provisions of the legislation would improve interagency coordination and incentivize the development of a single and more fulsome NEPA analysis by the lead agency, working in conjunction with other participating agencies. Similar legislation (H.R. 2910) was passed by the House on July 19.