Senators present North Atlantic Energy Security act
Senators John Hoeven, John McCain, Lisa Murkowski and John Barrasso introduced the North Atlantic Energy Security Act, a measure that would cut the red tape holding up energy production and infrastructure development, reduce flaring and expedite liquid natural gas (LNG) exports to America’s allies.
Specifically, the legislation would:
Streamline Onshore Production – It currently takes 180 to 270 days to approve a drilling permit on public lands in North Dakota.
Increasing Onshore Production: The legislation would streamline government roadblocks and bureaucratic red-tape that prevent and delay onshore American energy production. The bill would reform the leasing process for onshore oil and natural gas projects on federal lands to eliminate unnecessary delays; reform the process for energy permitting, once a lease is in hand, to encourage the timely development of our federal resources; set clear rules for the development of U.S. oil shale resources; establish common sense steps to create an all-of-the-above American energy plan using our vast federal resources; and modernize and update the bidding process for oil and natural gas leases by allowing Internet-based auctions.
Expedite Natural Gas Gathering Systems – Forty percent of all natural gas produced on public lands in North Dakota is flared. Nationally, 212 billion cubic feet is flared.
Accessing Federal Lands: Based on Senator Barrasso’s S.2112, legislation would provide a categorical exclusion under the National Environmental Policy Act for certain natural gas gathering lines which are located on Federal land (excluding the National Park System, the National Wildlife Refuge System, and the National Wilderness Preservation System) and Indian land and service any oil (not natural gas) wells.
Establishing Rights-of-Way Deadlines: The legislation would require the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture to issue rights-of-ways for natural gas gathering lines that qualify for a categorical exclusion within 30 days; and rights-of-way for all other natural gas gathering lines servicing oil wells within 60 days.
Expedite LNG Exports to Ukraine, NATO Countries and Japan – The DOE has fully approved only one natural gas export terminal. Six are conditionally approved and 26 are pending, the majority of which have been waiting more than a year for the decision.
Expanding LNG Export Opportunities: The legislation amends Federal law by requiring the Secretary of Energy to approve exports of natural gas to Ukraine, NATO allies and Japan in addition to free trade countries. It also requires DOE to make a decision for other applications within 45 days after a company completes the pre-file process with Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
“Achieving energy independence needs to be a priority for our economy, and also for our national security,” Hoeven said. “We’re producing more than 30 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in our country, but use only 26 trillion. That means we can not only produce more energy than we use in the United States to create jobs, reduce flaring and decrease our dependence on Middle Eastern oil, but also produce enough energy to help our allies, including countries like Ukraine, avert conflicts over energy with hostile neighbors.”
“It is in America’s national security interest to leverage our nation’s energy boom to reduce the dependence of our allies on the natural resources of Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Speeding the export of liquefied natural gas to Ukraine and Europe will help accomplish that goal,” said Senator John McCain.
“The U.S. renaissance in oil and natural gas production has been a rare bright spot in our economy, but the vast majority of that production has occurred on state and private lands. This bill takes several important and long overdue steps to bolster our energy security, our economy, and our allies across the Atlantic,” said Murkowski.
“Currently, the United States is flaring natural gas that other nation’s desperately want to buy,” said Barrasso. “Our bill would fix this problem by expediting permits for natural gas pipelines and LNG export terminals. It’s a win-win for our environment, American workers, and the energy security of our allies and strategic partners.”
Press Release, July 14, 2014; Image: hoeven.senate.gov