A bipartisan, bicameral bill introduced on Dec. 1 by U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) aims to create regulatory certainty for natural gas pipeline construction in the United States.
“The Biden administration has created so many burdensome regulations on our domestic energy production during his first two years in office, driving costs up and shrinking the value of Americans’ hard-earned dollars,” Rep. Kelly said. “This bill eases regulatory conditions so pipelines can transport that gas from Pennsylvania to the Northeastern United States, ultimately lowering energy costs for families and businesses.”
Rep. Kelly introduced the Pipeline Permitting for Energy Security Act, H.R. 9372, which would limit state authority to delay pipeline construction by mandating concrete timelines for Clean Water Act review, and clarify factors unrelated to water quality that cannot be considered in the law’s review process, according to a bill summary provided by Rep. Kelly’s office. U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) on Dec. 1 sponsored the same-named S. 5165.
“Pennsylvania is the second-largest natural gas producing state in the country, and I’m committed to making sure the Keystone State can continue to serve as an energy leader in the United States and around the world,” said Rep. Kelly. “I thank Senator Toomey for his joint effort to ensure Pennsylvania can lead America’s energy comeback.”
If enacted, the measure also would provide a clear scope of navigable waters included in Clean Water Act reviews; protect the use of general permits to prevent duplicative review of construction along the same pipeline; and streamline the National Environmental Policy Act review process for major federal projects, the summary says.
Additionally, the bill would prevent expansion of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) qualifications that obstruct pipeline infrastructure and shorten standard ESA consultation timeframes. The bill also would create a new expedited consultation process for projects proven to cause minimal effect, states the summary.
The proposal also would permit the completion of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, a 304-mile natural gas pipeline under construction that, once completed, will run from southern Virginia to northwestern West Virginia.
“Through the Pipeline Permitting for Energy Security Act, Congress would create regulatory certainty for pipeline construction nationwide and greenlight the long-delayed Mountain Valley Pipeline,” said Sen. Toomey. “This would also enable increased access to low-cost, clean, and safe natural gas from Pennsylvania. Real, lasting permitting reform is pivotal to creating a sustainable American energy policy for the 21st century.”
Supporters of the proposed legislation include the Marcellus Shale Coalition, the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America, Equitrans Midstream, and UGI Energy Services LLC.
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