Text: S.1844 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in Senate (09/19/2017)

 
[Congressional Bills 115th Congress]
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[S. 1844 Introduced in Senate (IS)]

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115th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                S. 1844

To provide for coordination by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission 
  of the process for reviewing certain natural gas projects under the 
        jurisdiction of the Commission, and for other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                           September 19, 2017

 Mr. Inhofe (for himself and Mr. King) introduced the following bill; 
   which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and 
                           Natural Resources

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
To provide for coordination by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission 
  of the process for reviewing certain natural gas projects under the 
        jurisdiction of the Commission, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Coordinating Interagency Review of 
Natural Gas Infrastructure Act of 2017''.

SEC. 2. FERC PROCESS COORDINATION.

    (a) Definitions.--In this section:
            (1) Agency.--The term ``agency'' means any Federal, State, 
        or other governmental entity with authority to implement an 
        agency action.
            (2) Agency action.--
                    (A) In general.--The term ``agency action'' means 
                any action required to be carried out by an agency 
                under Federal law with respect to a project.
                    (B) Inclusions.--The term ``agency action'' 
                includes the provision, and any determination relating 
                to the provision, of any permit, special use 
                authorization, certification, opinion, consultation, or 
                approval required under Federal law with respect to an 
                application for--
                            (i) authorization under section 3(e) of the 
                        Natural Gas Act (15 U.S.C. 717b(e)); or
                            (ii) a certificate of public convenience 
                        and necessity under section 7 of that Act (15 
                        U.S.C. 717f).
            (3) Commission.--The term ``Commission'' means the Federal 
        Energy Regulatory Commission.
            (4) Federal authorization.--
                    (A) In general.--The term ``Federal authorization'' 
                means any authorization required under Federal law with 
                respect to an application for--
                            (i) authorization under section 3(e) of the 
                        Natural Gas Act (15 U.S.C. 717b(e)); or
                            (ii) a certificate of public convenience 
                        and necessity under section 7 of that Act (15 
                        U.S.C. 717f).
                    (B) Inclusions.--The term ``Federal authorization'' 
                includes any permit, special use authorization, 
                certification, opinion, consultation, or approval 
                required under Federal law with respect to an 
                application described in subparagraph (A).
            (5) Lead agency.--The term ``lead agency'' means the 
        Commission.
            (6) NEPA review.--The term ``NEPA review'' means an 
        environmental impact statement or similar analysis required 
        under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 
        4321 et seq.).
            (7) Project.--The term ``project'' means a natural gas 
        project subject to the jurisdiction of the Commission that 
        requires one or more Federal authorizations.
            (8) Ready for processing.--The term ``ready for 
        processing'', with respect to an application for Federal 
        authorization, means that the application is sufficiently 
        complete for the purpose of commencing a review of the 
        application for any agency action.
    (b) Responsibilities of Agencies in Project NEPA Reviews.--
            (1) In general.--In carrying out any NEPA review of a 
        project, the lead agency shall--
                    (A) to the maximum extent practicable and in 
                accordance with the authority of the lead agency under 
                section 15 of the Natural Gas Act (15 U.S.C. 717n), 
                facilitate the expeditious resolution of the NEPA 
                review; and
                    (B) ensure that the NEPA review is completed in 
                accordance with--
                            (i) this section; and
                            (ii) applicable Federal law.
            (2) Designation of participating agencies.--
                    (A) Invitations and requests.--
                            (i) In general.--As early as practicable in 
                        the NEPA review process for a project, the lead 
                        agency shall--
                                    (I) identify any other agencies 
                                with jurisdiction over any Federal 
                                authorizations that may be related to 
                                the NEPA review; and
                                    (II) invite such agencies to become 
                                participating agencies.
                            (ii) Deadline.--An invitation under clause 
                        (i)(II) shall establish a deadline for a 
                        response to the invitation, to be submitted to 
                        the lead agency, which may be extended by the 
                        lead agency for good cause.
                            (iii) Requests.--Any agency with 
                        jurisdiction over a Federal authorization 
                        relating to the NEPA review process for a 
                        project may submit a request to become a 
                        participating agency, regardless of whether the 
                        lead agency invited the agency to become a 
                        participating agency under clause (i), subject 
                        to the condition that such a request shall be 
                        timely submitted.
                    (B) Designation.--The lead agency shall designate 
                as a participating agency--
                            (i) each agency invited under subparagraph 
                        (A)(i)(II), unless the invited agency informs 
                        the lead agency, in writing, by the deadline 
                        specified in the invitation, that the invited 
                        agency--
                                    (I) has no jurisdiction or 
                                authority with respect to the 
                                applicable project;
                                    (II) has no expertise or 
                                information relevant to the NEPA review 
                                of the project; or
                                    (III) does not intend to submit 
                                comments for the record in the NEPA 
                                review; and
                            (ii) each agency that submits a request 
                        under subparagraph (A)(iii) to become a 
                        participating agency.
                    (C) Consultation by lead agency.--As soon as 
                practicable after commencing a NEPA review of a 
                project, the lead agency shall coordinate with the 
                participating agencies to ensure that the information 
                developed during the NEPA review is also usable by the 
                participating agencies in carrying out the obligations 
                of the participating agencies with respect to each 
                Federal authorization for the project.
            (3) Responsibilities of participating agencies.--
                    (A) Effect of designation.--Designation as a 
                participating agency for a project under paragraph 
                (2)(B) does not indicate that the participating 
                agency--
                            (i) supports a proposed Federal 
                        authorization for the project; or
                            (ii) has any jurisdiction over, or special 
                        expertise with respect to evaluation of, the 
                        Federal authorization for the project.
                    (B) Effect of nondesignation.--
                            (i) In general.--The lead agency shall not, 
                        with respect to an agency that is not 
                        designated as a participating agency for a 
                        project under paragraph (2)(B) with respect to 
                        an application for one or more Federal 
                        authorizations--
                                    (I) take into consideration any 
                                agency action, comments, or other 
                                information submitted by the agency; or
                                    (II) include any such comments or 
                                other information in the record of the 
                                NEPA review.
                            (ii) Supplemental nepa review requests.--An 
                        agency that is not designated a participating 
                        agency for a project under paragraph (2)(B) may 
                        not request or develop a supplemental NEPA 
                        review of the project, unless the agency--
                                    (I) demonstrates that such a review 
                                is necessary for the agency to carry 
                                out an obligation of the agency with 
                                respect to a Federal authorization for 
                                the project; and
                                    (II) requires information that 
                                could not have been obtained during the 
                                NEPA review carried out by the lead 
                                agency for the project.
    (c) Concurrent Agency Action Reviews.--
            (1) Applications.--
                    (A) In general.--In accordance with the schedule 
                established by the lead agency under section 15(c) of 
                the Natural Gas Act (15 U.S.C. 717n(c)), each agency 
                conducting any agency action for a Federal 
                authorization for a project shall--
                            (i) not later than 45 days after the date 
                        on which the application is received by the 
                        agency, provide to the applicant a notice 
                        describing whether the application is ready for 
                        processing; and
                            (ii) if the agency determines that an 
                        application is not ready for processing, 
                        include in the notice described in clause (i) a 
                        comprehensive description of the information 
                        required to be submitted for the application to 
                        be ready for processing.
                    (B) Revised applications.--If an applicant submits 
                a revised application for Federal authorization for a 
                project after receiving a notification under 
                subparagraph (A) that the initial application was not 
                ready for processing, the agency receiving the revised 
                application shall, not later than 30 days after the 
                date on which the revised application is received--
                            (i) determine whether the revised 
                        application--
                                    (I) provided all information 
                                included in the comprehensive 
                                description described in subparagraph 
                                (A)(ii); and
                                    (II) is ready for processing; and
                            (ii) if the agency determines that the 
                        revised application is not ready for 
                        processing, provide to the applicant a notice 
                        describing the information included in the 
                        comprehensive description under subparagraph 
                        (A)(ii) that the applicant did not include in 
                        the revised application.
                    (C) Supplementation.--An agency considering an 
                aspect of an application for a Federal authorization 
                may require the applicant to supplement the application 
                with such additional information as the agency 
                determines to be necessary to complete the review of 
                the application, regardless of whether the agency has 
                determined under subparagraph (A) or (B) that an 
                application is ready for processing.
            (2) Concurrent reviews.--Each agency carrying out an agency 
        action for a Federal authorization (other than a NEPA review) 
        shall--
                    (A) unless doing so would impair the ability of the 
                agency to conduct an analysis that could not otherwise 
                be developed during the NEPA review carried out by the 
                lead agency for the project, to the maximum extent 
                authorized by law, conduct the agency action--
                            (i) concurrently and in conjunction with 
                        the NEPA review; and
                            (ii) in accordance with the applicable 
                        schedule established by the lead agency;
                    (B) submit to the lead agency progress reports not 
                less frequently than once every 90 days; and
                    (C) formulate and implement a plan for 
                administrative, policy, and procedural mechanisms to 
                enable the agency to ensure completion of the agency 
                action for the Federal authorization in accordance with 
                an applicable schedule established by the Commission 
                under section 15(c)(1) of the Natural Gas Act (15 
                U.S.C. 717n(c)(1)).
    (d) Modifications to, and Failures To Meet, Deadlines.--
            (1) In general.--In any case in which an agency (including 
        the lead agency) modifies or fails to meet a deadline required 
        with respect to an agency action for a Federal authorization 
        for a project under the applicable schedule established by the 
        Commission under section 15(c)(1) of the Natural Gas Act (15 
        U.S.C. 717n(c)(1)), the head of the agency (including, in the 
        case of a failure by a State agency, the head of the 
        appropriate Federal agency) shall, by not later than 15 days 
        after the applicable deadline, provide a notice of the 
        modification or failure to--
                    (A) the appropriate committees of Congress;
                    (B) the lead agency (if applicable);
                    (C) the Director of the Office of Management and 
                Budget; and
                    (D) the developer of the project.
            (2) Inclusion.--A notice under paragraph (1) shall include 
        an implementation plan to ensure completion of the relevant 
        agency action for the Federal authorization.
            (3) Requirement of commission.--The Commission shall 
        provide to each affected agency a notice describing any change 
        in a schedule established for a project under section 15(c)(1) 
        of the Natural Gas Act (15 U.S.C. 717n(c)(1)).
    (e) Advanced Surveys.--
            (1) In general.--In any case in which an agency action for 
        a Federal authorization requires the applicant to submit any 
        environmental data for purposes of filing or submitting an 
        application, the agency shall consider any such data gathered 
        by aerial or other remote means.
            (2) Conditional approval.--An agency may grant a 
        conditional approval for Federal authorization, subject to the 
        condition that any data described in paragraph (1) shall be 
        verified by a subsequent, onsite inspection.
    (f) Accountability, Transparency, and Efficiency.--
            (1) In general.--With respect to an application for Federal 
        authorization that requires more than 1 Federal authorization, 
        the Commission, in consultation with each agency conducting an 
        agency action for a Federal authorization, shall monitor and 
        record information relating to the agency actions required to 
        complete the Federal authorizations, including--
                    (A) any applicable schedule established by the 
                Commission under section 15(c)(1) of the Natural Gas 
                Act (15 U.S.C. 717n(c)(1));
                    (B)(i) a list of all agency actions required by 
                each applicable agency to obtain a final decision 
                regarding the Federal authorization;
                    (ii) the expected completion date for each such 
                agency action; and
                    (iii) a point of contact at each agency responsible 
                for each such agency action; and
                    (C) in any case in which an agency action is 
                pending as of the deadline applicable to the agency 
                action under the schedule described in subparagraph 
                (A), a brief explanation of the reasons for the delay.
            (2) Publication.--The Commission shall publish on the 
        website of the Commission the information recorded under 
        paragraph (1), except to the extent that the information is 
        otherwise made publicly available on a permitting-related 
        dashboard or equivalent website.
    (g) Savings Clause.--Nothing in this section--
            (1) supersedes, amends, or modifies any provision of--
                    (A) the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 
                (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.); or
                    (B) any other Federal law; or
            (2) affects the responsibility of any Federal officer or 
        employee to comply with or enforce such a provision.
                                 <all>

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