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Cramer Bill Would Reduce Flaring of Natural Gas

Mar 25, 2014
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today Congressman Kevin Cramer introduced the Natural Gas Gathering Enhancement Act in the U.S. House of Representatives. The legislation would reduce the loss of natural gas due to flaring and venting by expediting permits for pipelines on Federal and Indian land. The companion bill was introduced in the Senate earlier this month by Senators John Hoeven (ND), John Barrasso (WY), and Mike Enzi (WY). 

“Getting more natural gas to market will help power more homes and businesses while increasing North Dakota’s export position,” said Cramer. “This legislation is a prime example of how the federal government can help infrastructure catch up with the pace of development.”

The bill speeds the permitting process for natural gas gathering lines located on federal and Indian land by providing a categorical exclusion under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The categorical exclusion would not apply to lands within the National Park System, the National Wildlife Refuge System, or the National Wilderness Preservation System and land only within a field or unit which has already undergone environmental analysis under NEPA. The Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture are then required to issue rights-of-way for lines which meet the categorical exclusion criteria within 30 days, and for all other lines within 60 days. 

Indian tribes would be given the choice to opt in to the categorical exclusion provisions while States given the choice to opt out. To ensure transparency, the Secretary of the Interior must report to Congress every 180 days on the progress made under the legislation. 

Cramer also cosponsored the Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act, which passed the House last November. It would expedite the federal review process for larger natural gas pipeline permit applications by requiring the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to approve or deny a complete application in 12 months and requiring all relevant agencies to approve or deny their portion of the application within 90 days. Permits would be automatically approved if these deadlines are missed.