Bill Flores (Republican – Texas) introduced the H.R. 2910 to provide for Federal and State agency coordination during approvals for select authorizations under the Natural Gas Act, and for other purposes.
The bill was introduced on June 15, 2017 and sent to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. The bill was reported by the Committee on Energy and Commerce on July 17, and passed the House with a vote of 248-179 on July 19, 2017. The bill was received by the Senate on July 20, 2017 and sent to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
The bill grants more strength to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and identifies it as the lead agency under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for natural gas products under its jurisdiction (pipelines that cross state lines). H.R. 2910 is intended to interagency coordination and to develop a single report on the projects in conjunction with other participating agencies rather than multiple analyses. Agencies that aren’t considered designated participants (they lack jurisdiction, lack expertise or information relevant to the pipeline review, doesn’t intend to submit comments for review) will not be allowed to request or conduct a NEPA environmental review in addition to the one completed by FERC. FERC will not consider any comments or information provided by a non-designated agency or include the comments in its NEPA review. If an agency involved in the natural gas approvals process misses a deadline (90 days following the completion of FERC’s NEPA review), it will be required to report to Congress and FERC and then generate an implementation plan to ensure that their responsibilities are completed.
H. Amdt 204 – Niki Tsongas (Democrat – Massachusetts) submitted an amendment to add the following on Page 12, after Line 9: (h) Limitation on Application – This section shall not apply to any application for an authorization under section 3 of the Natural Gas Act or a certificate of public convenience and necessity under section 7 of such Act with respect to which any part of a pipeline facility that is a subject of the application is to be located on lands required under Federal, State, or local law to be managed for purposes of natural resource conservation or recreation. The amendment failed by a vote of 180-249.
H. Amdt 205 – Stephen Lynch (Democrat – Massachusetts) submitted an amendment to direct FERC, in considering an application for an authorization or certificate covered by the bill, to consult with the Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) regarding the extent of the applicant’s compliance with security guidance and best practice recommendations issued by TSA on pipeline infrastructure security, pipeline cybersecurity, pipeline personnel security, and other pipeline security measures designed to ensure public safety. The amendment passed with a voice vote.
H. Amdt 206 – Donald Beyer (Democrat – Virginia) submitted an amendment to require FERC to issue a supplemental environmental impact statement if there is critical new information relevant to a pipeline proposal, and to require mitigation plans for adverse impacts if not already provided. The amendment failed with a vote of 192-236.
David McKinley (Republican – West Virginia)
Bill Johnson (Republican – Ohio)
Pete Olson (Republican – Texas)
Chris Collins (Republican – New York)
Kevin Cramer (Republican – North Dakota)
Pete Sessions (Republican – Texas)