U.S. wants quicker gas pipeline reviews

July 10, 2013 at 7:57 AM

WASHINGTON, July 10 (UPI) -- Federal regulations regarding natural gas pipelines in the United States are too slow for recent production gains, a Kansas legislator said.

A House committee on natural resources heard testimony on a natural gas pipeline reform act meant to streamline the review process for interstate pipeline applications. The bill would give the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission a one-year deadline to make decisions on new pipelines.

The American Petroleum Institute said natural gas well completions increased during the second quarter of 2013. New technologies used in drilling resulted in substantial increases in U.S. natural gas production.

"Because of the combination of increased production and demand for natural gas, it is absolutely vital that the law for natural gas pipelines keep up with the capacity to get this stuff out of the ground and into the homes of the consumers who need it," Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., who proposed the legislation, said in a statement.

FERC Commissioner Philip Moeller testified Tuesday before a House committee, saying the 12-month deadline was "achievable," though he had some reservations about the depth of reviews.

"My only caution is that without high level agency oversight directing the agencies to prioritize these permits, a timeline could result in agencies either denying certain permits or adding burdensome conditions as a way to protect themselves from accusations of insufficient review," he said.

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