Summary: S.1308 — 96th Congress (1979-1980)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Conference report filed in House (06/21/1980)

(Conference report filed in House, H. Rept. 96-1119)

Priority Energy Project Act of 1980 - =Title I: General Provisions= - Declares it to be the purpose of this act to reduce the threat of economic disruption from oil supply interruptions by providing a coordinated, prompt, and simplified process for the consideration of certain nonnuclear energy projects that are to be designated as Priority Energy Projects.

Sets forth definitions of terms, including "energy project" which is to mean any project by any person or any Federal or non-Federal agency which is for the: (1) exploration for; or (2) development, transportation production, conservation or efficient use of, any form of energy. States that a "Priority Energy Project" is any project designated as such pursuant to this Act.

Provides that nothing in this Act shall apply to any project for the production of nuclear energy.

=Title II: Energy Mobilization Board= - Establishes the Energy Mobilization Board consisting of three members appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.

Provides that the Board shall have authority to: (1) hold hearings; (2) enter into and perform contracts; (3) utilize the services of voluntary personnel; (4) acquire and dispose of personal property; and (5) prescribe orders and regulations necessary to operate the Board.

Prohibits the Board from constructing, maintaining, or operating any energy project.

Sets forth provisions concerning the administration of the Board.

Requires that certain final actions of the Board shall be subject to the Sunshine Act, including: (1) a determination whether or not to designate an energy project as a Priority Energy Project; (2) establishment or modification of a Project Decision Schedule; (3) a determination to require Federal agencies to adopt modified procedures; or (4) a determination to make a recommendation to the President. Directs the Board, from time to time, to determine other actions which shall be subject to the Sunshine Act.

Provides that, except as stipulated, the Administrative Procedure Act shall apply to the Energy Mobilization Board.

Terminates the authority of the Board to designate Priority Energy Projects eight years after enactment. Terminates the Board 90 days after the later of: (1) the eight year period; or (2) initial operation, or termination of the designation, of all priority Energy Projects designated by the Board.

=Title III: Priority Energy Projects= - Authorizes any person or any Federal or non-Federal agency planning or proposing an energy project to apply to the Board for an order designating the project as a Priority Energy Project. Sets forth information required of applicants.

Requires the Board to approve or deny the application within 45 days after expiration of the public comment period.

Requires the Board, in determining whether to make the designation, to consider, among other things: (1) the extent to which the project would reduce dependence on imported oil or nonrenewable resources; (2) the magnitude of any economic, social, and environmental impacts as associated with the project; (3) the extent to which the project would use renewable resources, conserve energy, and contribute to the development of new technology; (4) any adverse effects of designating the project as a Priority Energy Project; and (5) the anticipated effects of such designation upon competition in the energy industry.

Requires the Board to designate an electric powerplant applying for designation as a Priority Energy Project if determined that such powerplant will use coal or a coal derived fuel as the primary energy source either through: (1) the conversion of an existing powerplant from the use of oil or natural gas as a primary energy source or (2) the construction of a new powerplant to replace an existing powerplant which uses oil or natural gas as the primary source.

Authorizes the Governor of any State in which there is a Priority Energy Project to appoint a nonvoting representative to the Board in matters respecting such project.

Requires each agency having authority to make any agency decision with respect to any part of a project designated as a Priority Energy Project to transmit to the Board: (1) a compilation of all significant actions required to be taken by such agency and by the applicant before such decision can be made and a summary of procedural requirements applicable to such actions; (2) a tentative schedule for completing such actions and making such decisions; and (3) a statement of administrative requirements to take such actions.

Directs the Board to publish a Project Decision Schedule for all agency decisions and actions relating to a Project within 30 days of the transmittal of agency information. Requires that such schedule: (1) be consistent with tentative schedules; (2) be reasonably designed to ensure that the agency is able to comply with all applicable laws; and (3) ensure that the agency is able to afford adequate participation as required by all applicable laws.

Permits the Board to modify the Schedule at any time, upon its own motion or upon petition of an agency, the Project, or any party to an agency proceeding, if: (1) such modification would further the purposes of this Act; or (2) continued adherence to the schedule would be impractical, or not be in the public interest. Stipulates that in the case of a request of a modification by an agency of a project, no modification may be made unless the agency has exercised diligence in attempting to comply with the Schedule.

Permits the Board to extend the time for: (1) providing notice of receipt of an application; (2) receiving comments; (3) determining whether to designate a project as a Priority Energy Project; (4)transmittal of agency information; and (5) publication of a Project Decision Schedule.

States that nothing in this Act shall: (1) exempt any Priority Energy Project from any applicable Federal, State, or local law; or (2) except as otherwise provided, affect the authority or independence of any independent Federal regulatory agency.

Directs the Board to monitor compliance with the Schedule. Directs the Board to determine the reason for any delay and notify the appropriate agencies and Project.

Permits the Board to terminate the designation of any project as a Priority Energy Project if: (1) the Project is not complying with the Project Decision Schedule; (2) the Project has not attempted in good faith to comply with any applicable law governing the Project's actions with respect to agency decisions; (3) the designation is no longer necessary; or (4) the Project has requested that the designation be terminated.

Provides that a determination by the Board to designate or terminate a project as a Priority Energy Project and the establishment or termination of any Project Decision Schedule shall not be treated as a major Federal action significantly affecting the human environment under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA).

Directs the Council on Environmental Quality to determine whether any Federal action relating to a Priority Energy Project, after it has been so designed and prior to establishing the Project Decision Schedule, will be a "major Federal action" for purposes of compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). Requires the Council to designate a lead agency to assure compliance with NEPA whenever a major Federal action is involved.

Permits any Federal agency which is or may be subject to a Project Decision Schedule to change procedures applicable to the agency's actions and decisions with respect to energy projects. Stipulates that the changed procedures shall apply to Priority Energy Projects. Permits affected agencies to consolidate proceedings related to actions and decisions subject to the Project Decision Schedule to the extent practicable. Authorizes the Board to require Federal agencies which are likely to be subject to a Project Schedule to change procedures with respect to any Priority Energy Project. Permits the Board to require affected agencies to consolidate proceedings relating to the Schedule. Permits the Board to make recommendations for changes in procedures applicable to decisions and actions of non-Federal agencies which are or may be subject to a Project Decision Schedule for any Priority Energy Project. Prohibits the Board from requiring that non-Federal agencies adopt such recommendations. Permits non-Federal agencies to consolidate proceedings relating to the Schedule.

Authorizes the Board, if any Federal or non-Federal agency has failed, or is likely to fail, to comply with any deadline on the Schedule to bring an action in the appropriate district court to enforce the deadline.

Authorizes the Board, if any Federal or non-Federal agency has failed to comply with a deadline on the Project Decision Schedule, to proceed with an action in lieu of the agency. Requires the Board, whenever it acts for an agency, to: (1) notify the agency; and (2) order the agency to transmit appropriate records to the Board.

Permits the Board on its own motion, or upon petition of a Priority Energy Project, to issue an order to suspend, modify, or amend any Federal, State, or local statute, rule, regulation, or standard as it applies to a Priority Energy Project if such statute, rule, regulation, or standard was enacted or promulgated: (1) in the case of any Project which commenced construction before enactment, on or after enactment; and (2) in the case of any Project which commenced construction on or after enactment, after the earlier or the date on which construction of such Project commenced, or an application for designation as a Priority Energy Project is submitted. Stipulates that the Board may not issue such order unless the statute, rule, regulation, or standard presents a substantial impediment to implementing the Project. Prohibits such an order if the order would, among other things: (1) cause a violation of any primary air quality standard established under the Clean Air Act; or (2) contravene any interstate compact, provision of State or local law, or federal contract, relating to water rights.

Authorizes the Board, on its own motion, if a Federal statute, rule, regulation or standard presents a substantial impediment to the implementation of a project, to recommend to the President the suspension, modification, or amendment to the statute, rule, regulation, or standards as it applies to a Priority Energy Project. Stipulates that the Board may exercise its authority to make such a recommendation to the President only during the period beginning on the date of designation of the energy project as a Priority Energy Project and ending on the date of initial commercial operation of the Project, as determined by the Board. Stipulates that the Federal statutes, rules, regulations, or standards subject to suspension, modification, or amendment are as follows: (1) in the case of any Project which commenced construction before the date of enactment, those which were enacted or promulgated before enactment; and (2) in the case of any Project which commenced construction on or after the date of enactment, those which were enacted or promulgated on or before the earlier of the date on which construction of the Project commenced, or application for designation as a Priority Energy Project is submitted. Requires the Board whenever it makes, on its own motion, such a recommendation to conduct an informal public hearing to gain information for consideration in exercising its authority. Requires the President to consider the public comments and make a recommendation to Congress. Provides that any Presidential recommendation shall only be effective and have the force and effect of law if approved by a joint resolution which becomes law. Sets forth restrictions on any Board or Presidential recommendation and prohibits any recommendation from taking effect if it would, among other things: (1) cause a violation of any primary air quality standard established under the Clean Air Act; or (2) contravene any interstate compact, provision of State or local law, or Federal contract, relating to water rights.

=Title IV: Judicial Review= - Provides that the Temporary Emergency Court of Appeals established under the Economic Stabilization Act of 1970 shall have the power of a circuit court of appeals with respect to the jurisdiction conferred on it by this Act, which jurisdiction includes original and exclusive jurisdiction over any petition for review of any agency decision or action authorized or required pursuant to the expedited Federal and non-Federal agency procedures set forth in this Act pertaining to Priority Energy Projects.

Provides that, except for review in the Supreme Court and certain other situations as specified, the Temporary Emergency Court of Appeals shall have original and exclusive civil jurisdiction over any petition: (1) for review of final agency decisions or actions subject to the Project Decision Schedule; (2) for review of final agency decisions or action required by this Act; (3) alleging that a Federal or non-Federal agency has failed to take an action, or make a decision, necessary to the completion and initial commercial operation of a Priority Energy Project; (4) challenging the constitutionality of this Act; (5) for review of any regulation or order of the Board, and other specified actions of the Board; and (6) for an interlocutory appeal from agency decisions or actions where the Temporary Emergency Court of Appeals will have jurisdiction over the final decision or action and where the Temporary Emergency Court of Appeals determines that interlocutory review is appropriate in accordance with applicable law. Provides that in all other cases review shall be in the district court or other court as provided in other provisions of law.

Provides that, except as provided by the Constitution, the following shall not be subject to judicial review: (1) the adequacy of an application for designation of an energy project as a Priority Energy Project; (2) a decision of the Board to or not to designate a project as a Priority Energy Project; (3) any decision of the Board establishing or modifying a Project Decision Schedule; (4) any determination of the Board that a State does or does not have a single process for siting energy projects; and (5) any decision by the Board to discuss strategies concerning the States without participation by the Governor's representative appointed to the Board.

Sets forth provisions concerning judicial review of: (1) Board decisions or actions for agencies failing to comply with the Project Decision Schedule; (2) the issuance of an order to suspend, modify, or amend any Federal, State, or local statute, rule, regulation, or standard as it applies to a Priority Energy Project when such suspension, modification, or amendment is issued by the Board on its own motion or upon petition of a Priority Energy Project; and (3) Board recommendations to the President concerning the suspension, modification, or amendment of any Federal statute, rule, regulation, or standard as it applies to a Priority Energy Project.

=Title V: Miscellaneous Provisions= - Authorizes the Board to issue a certificate to a Project stating that all final agency decisions and actions, and final judicial review of such actions and decisions are complete and final upon the completion of specified events. States that such certificate shall constitute conclusive evidence in any subsequent administrative or judicial proceeding that all agency decisions and actions necessary to the completion of construction and initial commercial operation of the Project are complete and final.

Requires the Board to report to Congress not later than December 31, 1981 on: (1) the current activities of the Board; (2) the status of each Priority Energy Project; and (3) the need for legislation to expedite Priority Energy Projects.

Directs the Board to issue annual reports to the Congress containing a list of all Federal laws and regulations that significantly hinder the completion of energy projects and an analysis of the reasons for such hindrance.

States that nothing in this Act shall be construed as expending or conferring upon the United States any right to acquire water rights or as altering any State law or regulation or interstate compact governing the use of water.

Declares that no provision of or action taken pursuant to this Act shall affect requirements of the Alaska Natural Gas Transportation Act of 1976 relating to actions of Federal officers or agencies in expediting decisions on the transportation system selected and approved under such Act.

Authorizes appropriations to carry out this Act.

Requires each Federal agency responsible for issuing decisions granting or denying applications of any Federal lessee for a permit to drill on the lessee's Federal oil and gas leases to adopt procedures, or revise its procedures, to provide that such decisions be made in accordance with applicable provisions of law and within 90 days after the application for such permit is filed with the agency. States that the agency goal shall be 30 days after the filing of the application. Provides for extensions of the 90 day period under certain circumstances. States that the provisions of this paragraph do not apply to any activities on the Outer Continental Shelf which are subject to the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.

Requires any Federal agency with discretionary authority to grant or deny an application for an exploration permit, a development lease, or a mine plan approval, for the production of coal, oil, or gas on Federal land to expedite all actions necessary to grant or deny such approval. States that nothing in this paragraph shall apply to any activities on the Outer Continental Shelf which are subject to the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.

Directs the Board to promulgate regulations for carrying out its functions under this Act.