Energy regulator gives thumbs-down to House permitting bill

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is attacking a senior Republican’s bill to speed-up permitting for gas pipelines and other energy projects that cross North American national borders, allege it would freeze out public review.

A FERC official spells out concerns with the legislation in testimony for Tuesday’s House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on the measure that’s sponsored Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas).

The bill gives FERC a 120-day deadline to approve natural gas export or import pipelines that cross the Canadian or Mexican border and also pares back environmental review.

“A 120-day deadline would not permit construction of an adequate record, enable important agency consultation, or allow for meaningful public interaction in arriving at a decision,” states Jeff Wright, director of FERC’s Office of Energy Projects, in testimony for a subcommittee hearing Tuesday on the “North American Energy Infrastructure Act.”

His testimony criticizes provisions that cut detailed National Environmental Policy Act reviews, alleging they would “severely curtail” FERC’s power to conduct a thorough analysis of gas pipeline projects.

Check out the testimony here.