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 JohnsonOvernight Energy: Trump pick to lead mining regulator withdraws | Watchdog questions ethics of ,000 in Zinke concert tickets | House votes to ease natural gas exports Greens win court case seeking stronger air pollution rules for brick makers Overnight Defense: VA pick breezes through confirmation hearing | House votes to move on defense bill negotiations | Senate bill would set 'stringent' oversight on North Korea talks MORE (R-Ohio), aim to ease the permitting process for companies wishing to export LNG.

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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 WalbergRecord numbers of women nominated for governor, Congress Five takeaways from Ohio's too-close-to-call special election GOP worries trade wars will last as Trump engages in temporary tiffs 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 PerryJames (Rick) Richard PerryOvernight Energy: House panel approves park funding, offshore drilling bills | Green group putting M into races | Perry applauds Russia boosting oil production Perry welcomes efforts by Russia, OPEC to boost oil production The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by Better Medicare Alliance — Hurricane Florence a new test for Trump team MORE's proposal to prop up coal and nuclear plants, which FERC recently rejected.

The event will feature Republican FERC Commissioner Neil ChatterjeeIndranil (Neil) ChatterjeeOvernight Energy: DNC to reject fossil fuel donations | Regulators see no security risk in coal plant closures | Senate committee rejects Trump EPA, Interior budgets Journalists take a trip down the rabbit hole at CNN's 'Alice in Wonderland'-themed brunch Regulators seek to remove barriers to electric grid storage MORE and Democratic Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur.

 

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