Toomey Introduces Bill to Improve Permitting of Natural Gas Pipelines

PipelineImage via Pixabay

U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) this week introduced the Pipeline Permitting for Energy Security Act, which would create regulatory certainty for natural gas pipeline construction and approve Mountain Valley Pipeline completion.

“It is long past time to stop the exploitation of outdated laws to prevent the construction of pipelines, which are the safest and most efficient way to transport natural gas, by activists and the politicians who cater to them. The obstruction of commonsense, essential energy infrastructure projects has resulted in higher energy costs, increased global reliance on energy produced by tyrants like Vladimir Putin, and ironically prevented increased distribution of the energy source most responsible for the declines in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions,” said Senator Toomey.

The proposed Pipeline Permitting for Energy Security Act would streamline the process for approving and constructing new pipeline infrastructure in the United States. The bill would limit state authority to delay construction by mandating concrete timelines for review under the Clean Water Act. It would also clarify which factors unrelated to water quality could not be considered in the review process, and it would provide a clear scope of navigable waters included in the review. In addition, the bill would protect the use of general permits to prevent duplicative review of construction along the same pipeline. Finally, it would streamline the National Environmental Policy Act review process for major federal projects and prevent the expansion of the Endangered Species Act qualifications that have been used to obstruct pipeline infrastructure in the past. This bill is a vital step in ensuring energy security for our nation.

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“Through the Pipeline Permitting for Energy Security Act, Congress would create regulatory certainty for pipeline construction nationwide and greenlight the long-delayed Mountain Valley Pipeline. This would also enable increased access to low-cost, clean, and safe natural gas from Pennsylvania. Real, lasting permitting reform is pivotal to creating a sustainable American energy policy for the 21st century.”

Congressman Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) introduced the House companion to the Pipeline Permitting for Energy Security Act on Thursday.

“Pennsylvania is the second-largest natural gas producing state in the country, and I’m committed to making sure the Keystone State can continue to serve as an energy leader in the United States and around the world,” said Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.). “The Biden administration has created so many burdensome regulations on our domestic energy production during his first two years in office, driving costs up and shrinking the value of Americans’ hard-earned dollar. This bill eases regulatory conditions so pipelines can transport that gas from Pennsylvania to the Northeastern United States, ultimately lowering energy costs for families and businesses. I thank Senator Toomey for his joint effort to ensure Pennsylvania can lead America’s energy comeback!”

Several stakeholder groups voiced support for Senator Toomey and Congressman Kelly’s efforts:

“Pennsylvania has world class natural gas assets, but pipeline constraints prevent us from fully unleashing the value of these resources for consumers locally and allies abroad. Natural gas demand is strong – and we’re seeing producers across the state respond with new well activity, but we need to be able to get the product to consumers, domestically and abroad. America needs action on policies that will reduce chronic permitting delays, encourage more local manufacturing uses and build more energy infrastructure. We applaud Senator Toomey for his efforts to streamline the permitting process, once again signaling his long-standing, steadfast support of American energy security,” said Marcellus Shale Coalition President David Callahan.

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“We welcome Senator Toomey’s contribution to the ongoing discussion on improving permitting processes for infrastructure critical to meeting our nation’s energy, economic, security, and climate goals. This legislation is focused on meaningfully addressing overly burdensome regulations associated with the Clean Water Act (CWA) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for both interstate natural gas pipelines and other vital energy infrastructure. We hope this further informs the conversation around permitting reform as we head into the next year,” said Amy Andryszak, President and CEO of the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA).

“As a matter of energy security, permitting reform legislation would address and ensure our nation’s ability to produce and deliver our vast domestic energy resources, including renewables, and enhance our ability to effectively transition to a lower-carbon future,” said Thomas F. Karam, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Equitrans Midstream.

“UGI Energy Services supports Senator Toomey’s bill that would make important changes to the pipeline infrastructure permitting process. Natural gas and natural gas infrastructure are critical to ensuring our economy can grow and that many U.S. families can live comfortably. It’s time for the Congress to pass legislation that enables an infrastructure to be built that can deliver clean, reliable, and safe energy throughout the U.S. while also protecting the environment.  We are grateful for Senator Toomey’s longstanding and unwavering support of our industry and look forward to passage of this important legislation,” said Joe Hartz, President, UGI Energy Services, LLC.

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