Week ahead: GOP looks to overhaul natural gas, utilities laws

Week ahead: GOP looks to overhaul natural gas, utilities laws
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A House panel will meet in the coming week to debate three Republican-backed bills meant to overhaul how federal regulators oversee liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports and electric utilities.

The hearing in the House Energy and Commerce Energy subcommittee is part of the GOP's ongoing drive to "modernize" the nation's energy laws, bringing them out of an energy scarcity framework.

Two of the bills being debated Friday, both from Rep. Bill JohnsonWilliam (Bill) Leslie JohnsonPG&E announces .5B settlement for Northern California wildfires California prepares for biggest blackout yet Largest California utility reports broken power line near wildfire origin MORE (R-Ohio), aim to ease the permitting process for companies wishing to export LNG.


Currently, companies must get approval for their export facilities from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and then Department of Energy (DOE) approval to export the gas to countries that do not have free trade agreements with the United States.

The Unlocking Our Domestic LNG Potential Act would remove the DOE from the process, so that once FERC approves a facility, exports could begin.

The Ensuring Small Scale LNG Certainty and Access Act, meanwhile, would make approvals to export up to 140 million cubic feet of gas per day mandatory and automatic.

Rep. Tim WalbergTimothy (Tim) Lee WalbergPro-trade group targets Democratic leadership in push for new NAFTA The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Pass USMCA Coalition - Restrictive state abortion laws ignite fiery 2020 debate On The Money: Mnuchin signals officials won't release Trump tax returns | Trump to hold off on auto tariffs | WH nears deal with Mexico, Canada on metal tariffs | GOP fears trade war fallout for farmers | Warren, regulator spar over Wells Fargo MORE's (R-Mich.) PURPA Modernization Act would overhaul the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978, the main law governing electric utility regulation by states.

Walberg's bill would ease the standards that require utilities to purchase small amounts of electricity and allow that requirement to be eliminated if a state agency approves, among other changes long sought by utilities.

Elsewhere in the House, the Natural Resources Committee's energy and mineral resources panel is planning a series of hearings on how the Trump administration oversees energy production.

First, in a Thursday hearing, the panel will look into the administration's efforts to ease energy production on public land.

The next day, lawmakers will host a hearing on permitting problems for offshore oil and natural gas seismic surveys, which companies use to estimate resource potential.

Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency, will be in Washington, D.C., in the coming week for the U.S. launch on Tuesday of the agency's annual World Energy Outlook, an extensive report on the status of energy across the world in 2017.

That will take place at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, where John Hess, CEO of Hess Corp., which introduce him.

Earlier Tuesday morning, Birol will testify at a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing about the global and domestic energy outlook.

Also on Tuesday, the Bipartisan Policy Center will host an event to discuss Energy Secretary Rick PerryRick PerryNew Energy secretary cancels Paris trip amid mass strikes against Macron proposal Mellman: The 'lane theory' is the wrong lane to be in Overnight Energy: Critics call EPA air guidance 'an industry dream' | New Energy secretary says Trump wants to boost coal | EPA looks to speed approval of disputed industry pollution permits MORE's proposal to prop up coal and nuclear plants, which FERC recently rejected.

The event will feature Republican FERC Commissioner Neil ChatterjeeIndranil (Neil) ChatterjeeHillicon Valley: FTC rules Cambridge Analytica engaged in 'deceptive practices' | NATO researchers warn social media failing to remove fake accounts | Sanders calls for breaking up Comcast, Verizon Bipartisan senators call on FERC to protect against Huawei threats Hillicon Valley: House passes anti-robocall bill | Senators inch forward on privacy legislation | Trump escalates fight over tech tax | Illinois families sue TikTok | Senators get classified briefing on ransomware MORE and Democratic Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur.


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