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Bipartisan Bill to Nix DOE OK in Gas Import/Exports from Canada, Mexico

A House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee Tuesday will hold a hearing on bipartisan legislation aimed at reforming cross-border energy trade between the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Significantly, the bill (HR 3301) would remove the "redundant" requirement that the Department of Energy (DOE) approve the import/export of natural gas to and from Canada and Mexico.

The bill, which was drafted by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Rep. Gene Green (D-TX), would require interstate natural gas pipelines to follow the current process and receive their certificate approvals from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, oil pipelines to obtain approval from the Secretary of the Department of Commerce, and electric transmission facilities to get clearance from the DOE.

The legislation calls for the federal agencies to approve cross-border applications within 120 days of submission unless they determine the project is not in the national security interest of the United States.

The House lawmakers said they would not waive any environmental laws but would decouple the cross-border determination from the National Environmental Policy Act review process. Environmental laws and permits would still be required, but not for the purpose of determining whether a project should be allowed to cross the international borders of the United States.

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