Daily Energy Insider: GOP senators introduce bill to speed up FERC application process

A group of Republican senators introduced a bill last week to reduce the long wait times for federal approval of energy infrastructure projects, including liquid natural gas (LNG) projects.

The Timely Review of Infrastructure Act (S. 607) would improve the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) ability to hire the qualified staff it needs to process project applications in a timely manner. This will help alleviate the backlog of projects waiting to receive approval due to the shortage of highly specialized engineers, scientists, and mathematicians tasked with reviewing construction applications at FERC.

“FERC’s backlog of applications for these infrastructure projects is standing in the way of good-paying jobs for Louisiana families,” said Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and one of the bill’s sponsors. “FERC needs the expertise and manpower to speed up the review process and end long wait times for new natural gas terminals that benefit Louisiana workers and their families.”

Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) also co-sponsored the bill.

“The U.S. is now the world’s largest producer of natural gas and oil, which means we are well-positioned to help other nations diversify their energy supplies and achieve a greater level of energy security,” Murkowski, chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, said. “Yet, that will only become a reality if we can resolve the application backlog at FERC and allow infrastructure projects to move forward. Our bill would give FERC the ability to hire more people with the right technical expertise to streamline this process and make timely decisions.”

U.S. Reps. Pete Olson (R-TX) and Mike Doyle (D-PA) co-sponsored similar legislation in the House.

“LNG projects like Jordan Cove and other infrastructure projects that create jobs and bring economic opportunity to Colorado often experience longs delays due to staffing shortages at the Commission. This bipartisan bill will make sure FERC has the resources they need to speed up the approval process and make sure the United States remains a global leader in energy production,” Gardner, member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, said.

FERC currently has 13 pending applications for new LNG export facilities with another four projects in the pre-filing process.

“The U.S. LNG industry is on course for a remarkable year in 2019 with multiple projects entering service and many more navigating the regulatory process,” Charlie Riedl, executive director of the Center for LNG, said. “The Timely Review of Infrastructure Act would give FERC the flexibility to bolster its highly skilled staff to handle the increased workload associated with our growing industry. This legislation would ensure a reliable and efficient review process for U.S. LNG projects and the Center for LNG is thankful that Senators Cassidy, Murkowski, and Gardner and Representative Olson are committed to providing FERC with necessary tools to support U.S. LNG growth.”

Source: Daily Energy Insider

Related Issues: Energy