May 7, 2015

Cassidy Introduces Bill to Increase Energy Access on Federal Lands

WASHINGTON— U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) introduced legislation to modernize and streamline the federal approval process to develop and maintain natural gas on certain federal lands. The bill is co-sponsored by EPW Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV).

Under current law, requests for the construction or maintenance of a pipeline used to transport natural gas on National Park System (NPS) lands, referred to as a right-of-way, must be approved by Congress. The Department of Interior typically reviews and approves rights-of-way for common infrastructure projects on these lands, but does not have the authority to approve pipelines. This creates unnecessary complication, confusion and opens up pipeline manufacturing and maintenance projects to delays.

The Federal Land Access Act updates existing law to allow the Department of Interior to oversee and approve requests for rights-of-way for natural gas pipelines on federal NPS lands.

Dr. Cassidy offered the following statement:

“Updating an outdated law will make it easier to build pipelines and improve the safety of existing pipelines. Cutting out unnecessary steps helps families and communities across America have access to affordable, reliable energy.”

The Federal Land Access Act:

  • Removes complicated permitting regulations that slow or even stop viable natural gas pipeline projects
  • Continues the original intent of the right-of-ways process by allowing the Secretary of the Interior to disseminate quick decisions
  • Restores greater certainty to the permitting process
  • Allows our energy infrastructure to keep pace with energy demands
  • Keeps environmental review process fully intact
  • Relieves Congress of the obligation to review all applications for natural gas pipeline rights-of-way across National Park Service lands
  • Helps to protect American energy customers from sky-rocketing energy costs

Yesterday, Dr. Cassidy joined Senators Shelley Moore-Capito (R-WV) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) to introduce legislation to streamline and modernize the pipeline approval process. Read more HERE.