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U.S. House Approves Permit Processing Reform Measures

This week the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass a trio of key energy bills.  In addition to the bill that would limit federal regulation of hydraulic fracturing, the House also passed two bills that include provisions aimed at reforming federal permitting processes.  By a vote of 228-192, the House passed the Federal Lands Jobs and Energy Security Act (HR 1965), which would, for example, require the Department of the Interior to decide on a federal lands drilling permit application within 60 days of receipt or the application would be deemed approved.  Today, the House voted 252-165 to pass the Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act (HR 1900), which would require the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to approve or deny a certificate of public convenience and necessity for a prefiled project within 12 months after receiving a complete application, and would also require other federal agencies to act on related licenses, permits or approvals within 90 days of FERC issuing an environmental impact statement.  The Obama administration has reportedly threatened to veto all three bills.