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Legislature Opposes Provisions of Proposed Federal Energy Legislation

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Legislature Opposes Provisions of Proposed Federal Energy Legislation

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Legislature, by a vote of 11-3 (Legislators Mike Sigler, Glenn Morey, and Dave McKenna voted no), went on record opposed to some provisions of the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act of 2016, approved in the U.S. Senate, with a modified version passing in the House of Representatives. The legislation expedites approval of liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminals, review of new mining permits, and oil and gas permitting and drilling through a 2,000-well pilot program.

The Legislature cites objections to provisions which, in part, include

  •  Requiring the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to approve LNG export terminal projects no later than 45 days after the final environmental review is filed;
  •  Making FERC the lead agency over all federal authorizations for natural gas projects;
  •  Requiring all state and other federal agencies conducting authorizations to defer to the FERC;
  •  Authorizing $175 million to fund expansion of methane hydrates research and development;
  •  Proposing a study of the potential for ethane storage in the Marcellus, Utica, and Rogersville shale, factoring in only economic impacts, and not environmental or climate change.

The resolution states, “We can only conclude that the proposed bill will lead to more hydraulic fracturing for natural gas across the country, resulting in increased greenhouse gas emissions, and incentivizing the construction of new domestic natural gas-fired power plants.” The measure urges Congress to remove the provisions from final energy legislation, and urges Congress to pass energy modernization legislation that greatly advances energy efficiency, builds on policies to expand clean energy sources, and reduces economic and energy dependence on fossil fuels.”

Legislator Sigler remarked that he didn’t think the County should be taking up the issue, since it is a complex global issue that involves much more than just the Legislature.