|12:42 PM EST||
Michael C. Burgess, R-TX 26th
Mr. BURGESS. Mr. Speaker, House Resolution 420 provides for the consideration of a critical piece of legislation that was passed by the Committee on Energy and Commerce designed to address the costly and unnecessary delays which many businesses experience when trying to get a final determination to be made by the Federal Government in relation to a pending pipeline.
A member of the committee, Mr. Pompeo from Kansas, the bill's author, has drafted a meaningful piece of legislation, taking into account the various competing interests involved in the permitting process and has found a fair and just balance for ensuring that our critical infrastructure moves forward.
The rule before us today provides for 1 hour of general debate on the bill. Five of the six amendments submitted to the Rules Committee were made in order, all Democratic amendments. The sixth was neither germane nor did it meet the CutGo rules of the House. Finally, the minority is afforded the customary motion to recommit on the bill, allowing for yet another opportunity to amend the legislation.
H.R. 1900, the Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act, is the product of hours of work with stakeholders that Mr. Pompeo has put in to improve the legislation. The bill streamlines our Nation's pipeline permitting processes in an effort to allow for greater capacity and promote safe infrastructure. Specifically, the bill directs the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to approve or deny a permit application for a new natural gas pipeline within 12 months.
Natural gas is one of the clearest examples of how this country can move itself toward a more sustainable energy-independent future while at the same time allowing and encouraging our economy to grow. My own district in north Texas sits 8,000 feet above the Barnett shale, a natural gas formation that industry has been using to produce gas for decades. Indeed, due to the technological advances and strong market, the area that I represent felt few of the effects of the recession until at least
a year after the recession was initiated due to the booming economy that resulted from the development of the resources under our feet.
Obviously, with increased production and demand, as we have seen with the natural gas industry, comes an increased need for infrastructure. I welcome any legislation which would streamline the permitting process and allow companies to spend less time with Washington bureaucrats and more time creating jobs, producing products that consumers want and are eager to buy.
Indeed, with the increase in supply that hydraulic fracturing has created with natural gas, the pace at which the Federal Government has approved increased infrastructure, namely pipelines, to transport this commodity has not kept up.
Pipelines provide the safest, fastest, and cleanest mode of transportation for natural gas, as we in the Energy and Commerce Committee have heard from witnesses again and again. Making certain that our country has the number of pipelines necessary for transporting the gas we need to heat our homes and run our cars is a critical step toward energy independence.
Moreover, Members of this body who annually support more robust funding for programs like the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, commonly referred to as LIHEAP, should be joining with Republicans today in supporting an increase in pipeline infrastructure in our country, as the natural gas being produced in Western States could more efficiently be transported to the Northeastern States, reducing home heating costs and lessening the need for government assistance for many families.
Mr. Speaker, this bill is an important bill. It will create opportunity to put thousands of workers to work, creating the infrastructure that this country has needed for some time due to the energy boom in natural gas. I encourage my colleagues to vote ``yes'' on the rule and ``yes'' on the underlying bill.
Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.