Despite veto threats from the Obama Administration, H.R. 3301, the “North American Energy Infrastructure Act”, passed in the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 238 to 173 on June 24, 2014.  The purpose of the bill (subject of a prior post) is to eliminate the Presidential permitting process for cross-border pipelines and electric transmission facilities.  For oil pipelines and electric transmission lines, the bill would only require a “certificate of crossing” for the construction, connection, operation or maintenance of the cross-border segment of a proposed project.  The certificate would be issued by the State Department (for oil pipelines) or by the Department of Energy (for electric transmission lines).  These Departments would be required to issue certificates of crossing within 120 days of completion of review of the proposed “cross-border segment” under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), unless they find that the project is not in the national public interest.  For natural gas pipeline projects, a certificate of crossing would not be required, as the bill leaves in place the current authorization process of the Natural Gas Act, under which FERC approves siting, construction or operation of natural gas pipeline facilities, and the import or export of natural gas.  The bill would, however, eliminate the Presidential Permit requirement for natural gas pipeline projects.
Continue Reading House Approves Bill to Reform Permitting Process for Cross-Border Pipelines, Despite Presidential Opposition