In an attempt to modernize the United States’ energy infrastructure, the Subcommittee on Energy and Power, within the United States House Committee on Energy and Commerce, began considering a group of bills on June 20th, 2017, which are related to energy infrastructure and national energy security.

Oil and gas related bills

Two of the bills affect international cross-border pipelines and natural gas pipelines and have implications for the oil and gas industry: the “Promoting Cross-Border Energy Infrastructure Act,” and the “Promoting Interagency Coordination for Review of Natural Gas Pipelines Act.”

Promoting Cross-Border Energy Infrastructure Act

The Cross-Border Act is intended to create a more efficient process for the construction, maintenance, and operation of international border-crossing pipelines.

In the current process, any entity wishing to construct a conduit to transport oil, gas, or electricity across the United States’ border must gain approval from the federal government. The new bill itself is simply meant to expedite the process of obtaining permission from the federal goverment to build across the border.

This bill relates to a letter drafted by members of Senate requesting that any revisions to the North American Free Trade Agreement consider the international movement of oil, natural gas, and electricity between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

Promoting Interagency Coordination for Review of Natural Gas Pipelines Act

The other bill, the Interagency Coordination Act, was drafted in the hopes of establishing more coordination among federal agencies when reviewing applications for the establishment of natural gas pipelines. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is established as the leading agency for natural gas pipeline applications, and, under the act, must coordinate with any participating agency in the review of pipeline applications. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission must, under this act, take actions for expeditious resolution of National Environmental Policy Act reviews.

Next steps for the bills

The set of proposed bills will be moving to markup Thursday, June 22nd, 2017, where they will be reviewed and revised by the committee. Following markup, the set of bills will be reported to the House of Representatives for consideration. The House Energy Subcommittee initially began examining the energy infrastructure topics in February and later in March, when it held hearings to evaluate how to promote new infrastructure.

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