House to vote on natural gas export, pipeline bills

The House will vote this month on bills aimed at speeding up the Obama administration’s processes for applications to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) and build cross-border pipelines like Keystone XL.

House Majority Leader Eric CantorEric Ivan CantorMeet Trump's most trusted pollsters Embattled Juul seeks allies in Washington GOP faces tough battle to become 'party of health care' MORE (R-Va.) said the House will vote on the bills the week of June 23 as part of the GOP’s efforts “to lessen the cost of gasoline and energy and put more money back into the pockets of everyday Americans.” Cantor announced the schedule Friday in a memo to Republicans.

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The House Energy and Commerce Committee passed the LNG bill in April and the pipeline one in May.

Rep. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerThis week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Progressive veterans group launches campaign labeling Trump as a 'national security threat' It's time for Congress to establish a national mental health crisis number MORE (R-Colo.) introduced the LNG bill earlier this year as lawmakers increasingly called for the United States to export LNG as a means to lessen Russia’s power over its neighbors who rely on it for energy while helping U.S. allies.

The Department of Energy (DOE) must review every application to export LNG to countries with which the U.S. does not have a free trade agreement. Gardner’s bill originally would have required the DOE to approve every application, but the committee passed a version that only sets a 90-day window for the DOE’s review.

Cantor said the bill “will allow the U.S. to take advantage of the growth in domestic natural gas production by making it easier to export LNG.”

While some Democrats have endorsed the bill, most are concerned of the environmental impact from increased hydraulic fracturing and potential price increases domestically.

Gardner is running to unseat Sen. Mark UdallMark Emery UdallDemocrats will win back the Senate majority in 2020, all thanks to President Trump Poll: Trump trails three Democrats by 10 points in Colorado The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and the new Israel-'squad' controversy MORE (D-Colo.) this year. Udall introduced a similar LNG bill to Gardner’s, but agreed to replace it with one that matched the House version when the Energy panel passed it.

Republicans wanted to attach the LNG export provision to the Senate’s failed energy efficiency bill in May, but Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) did not allow amendments.

The pipeline bill was also passed looking very different from its original form. Rep. Gene GreenRaymond (Gene) Eugene GreenTexas New Members 2019 Two Democrats become first Texas Latinas to serve in Congress Latina Leaders to Watch 2018 MORE (D-Texas) proposed the bill to exempt oil and natural gas pipelines and electricity infrastructure that crosses into Canada or Mexico from environmental review, remove the president’s power over permits and take the State Department out of the process.

Instead, the bill only would set a time limit on the government’s review of pipelines and take away the president’s permitting power. It retains the environmental review, but only for the part of the pipeline that crosses the border.

Cantor said the bill “will remove government imposed red tape that is making difficult to build the infrastructure necessary to move new supplies of North American energy to where they are needed most.”