WASHINGTON, D.C. — At a hearing of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee this week, Senator John Hoeven pressed the members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to provide certainty for developers of natural gas infrastructure so that consumers can see lower costs and the U.S. can unlock its vast natural gas resources to strengthen our energy independence and counter adversaries like Russia. The senator outlined two policies recently approved by the commission on partisan lines that impose new standards and considerations on the approval of natural gas infrastructure, including pipelines. The policy changes stand to impact both future projects and those that have already completed the required environment impact statements (EIS).
By creating new grounds for challenging the approval of applications that go beyond the authority granted to FERC by Congress, these policies will:
- Impose tremendous uncertainty in an already burdensome regulatory process.
- Threaten the completion of needed natural gas projects as well as upgrades to existing infrastructure.
- Constrain the supply and transportation of natural gas, leading to higher prices for homes and businesses and increasing inflation across the economy.
- Increase emissions by forcing the use of home heating fuels and transportation methods that are less efficient than natural gas and pipelines, respectively.
“Some natural gas projects have waited more than two years for FERC’s consideration, even with their final EIS completed. It is unreasonable to move the goal posts on these applications now,” said Hoeven. “These policy changes not only increase time and cost for these projects, which get passed on to consumers, they will lead some developers to abandon needed energy infrastructure projects entirely. That’s exactly the wrong approach for our nation and is another example of the Biden administration’s similar policies that are hamstringing domestic energy production at the cost of our economy and national security. Without pipeline capacity, we cannot get natural gas to the areas where it is needed most, including to our allies in Europe to reduce their dependence on Russian gas.”
The hearing comes as the latest in Hoeven’s efforts to provide regulatory relief for, and help ensure the timely approval of, critically-needed energy infrastructure, including pipelines and transmission lines. To this end, the senator worked to secure federal approval of the North Bakken Expansion Pipeline, which recently entered into service and will help to reduce flaring in the region by providing nearly 250 million cubic feet of natural gas takeaway capacity.
As part of this effort, Hoeven last year led a bipartisan group of 25 senators in calling on FERC to act and review the North Bakken Expansion project and 13 other natural gas pipeline projects pending before the Commission. While this resulted in the approval of the project in the Bakken, FERC continues to stall multiple other projects referenced in the senators’ letter.
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