House holds hearing to discuss natural gas pipeline approval process

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The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held a hearing on June 20 to discuss regulations related to natural gas pipelines. The Natural Gas Gathering Enhancement Act (H.R. 4293) and the Energy Infrastructure and Improvement Act (H.R. 1587) both seek to expedite the permitting processes for authorizing gas gathering lines from production facilities on federal and Indian lands, including national parks.

H.R. 4293, introduced by Congressman Kevin Cramer (R-ND), would allow the Secretary of the Interior and the National Parks Service (NPS) to expedite the approval process for natural gas pipelines deemed to have no significant environmental impact. Witness Amy Mall from the National Resources Defense Council asserted that the NPS already has this power under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and that this legislation would fix a problem that does not exist.

H.R. 1587, introduced by Congressman Tom Marino (R-PA), seeks to amend the Mineral Leasing Act (MLA) to allow the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture to issue permits granting right-of-way status to natural gas pipelines on federal lands, including those managed by the NPS. The NPS has requested that this right remain exclusively with Congress.

Both bills will remain in subcommittee for further consideration.

Source: House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources