House panel to look at bills to speed up FERC reviews of hydro, gas pipeline projects

The House Energy and Power Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., has scheduled a May 13 hearing as part of its Architecture of Abundance energy legislation program, with a feature of the hearing being a review of discussion drafts of bills to speed up approvals for hydroelectric and gas pipeline projects at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The subcommittee’s Republican majority said in a May 6 statement that hydropower is an essential component of an all-of the-above energy strategy and an important source of jobs. The draft legislation to be considered at the May 13 hearing seeks to modernize and improve the hydropower licensing and relicensing process at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to make it more efficient and transparent, while also preserving environmental protections. The draft text also facilitates new hydropower development at non-powered dams, which would create thousands of new jobs and thousands of megawatts of clean power. The draft builds upon the discussion draft previously released by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., which was called the Hydropower Regulatory Modernization Act of 2015.

The subcommittee will also discuss draft legislation designed to expedite consideration of much-needed natural gas pipelines by reforming and modernizing the siting and review process. The draft text reinforces the role of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as the lead agency for siting interstate natural gas pipelines and instructs FERC to coordinate with all other agencies involved and set reasonable timelines for review. This draft builds upon legislation that was previously introduced by Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kansas, and passed the House earlier this year.

The subcommittee is part of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.