House approves bill overhauling natural gas pipeline permits


Proposed legislation would overhaul the permitting process for natural gas pipelines.   Courtesy of wallstreetdaily.com

The U.S. House of Representatives approved the Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act bipartisan bill (H.R. 161) last week, legislation that could speed up the permit process for the construction of natural gas pipelines.

Co-sponsored by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA), the bill seeks to eliminate permit regulations that are hindering the extraction, transportation and distribution of shale gas. 

Alex E. Paris, president of the Alex E. Paris Contracting Co. in Atlasburg, Pennsylvania, recently testified before the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power about why the permitting process needs to be updated. He explained that Pennsylvania cannot build needed pipelines because of outdated regulations, which ultimately harms the commonwealth's economy.

"It is evident that we have enough natural gas to meet America’s growing energy needs for generations to come; however, many parts of the country do not have the necessary pipeline infrastructure to meet the rising demand... ," Paris said. "America will need significant increases in its natural gas infrastructure to meet this demand. Unfortunately, the current pipeline permitting process often causes considerable delays in getting important projects off the ground."

Paris said streamlining the federal permitting process would enable his company to create at least 200 more jobs. Similar companies also plan to create more jobs if the bill becomes law. 

In addition to creating more jobs, Murphy said the bill will ensure that Pennsylvania will not experience  power outages, shortages, or catastrophes related to energy delivery and energy production.

The bill now must be voted on by the U.S. the Senate.

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