Legislation

Jul 10 2014

S. 2592

Official Short: North Atlantic Energy Security Act

Long Title: A bill to promote energy production and security, and for other purposes.

Sponsors: Mr. Hoeven, Mr. Barrasso, Mr. McCain and Ms. Murkowski

STATUS:

  • July 10, 2014.--Introduced.

S.2592

North Atlantic Energy Security Act (Introduced in Senate - IS)

S 2592 IS

113th CONGRESS
2d Session
S. 2592

To promote energy production and security, and for other purposes.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
July 10, 2014

Mr. HOEVEN (for himself, Mr. MCCAIN, Ms. MURKOWSKI, and Mr. BARRASSO) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources


A BILL

To promote energy production and security, 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; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

    (a) Short Title- This Act may be cited as the `North Atlantic Energy Security Act'.
    (b) Table of Contents- The table of contents for this Act is as follows:
      Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.

TITLE I--NATURAL GAS GATHERING ENHANCEMENT

      Sec. 101. Short title.
      Sec. 102. Findings.
      Sec. 103. Authority to approve natural gas pipelines.
      Sec. 104. Certain natural gas gathering lines located on Federal land and Indian land.
      Sec. 105. Deadlines for permitting natural gas gathering lines under the Mineral Leasing Act.
      Sec. 106. Deadlines for permitting natural gas gathering lines under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976.
      Sec. 107. LNG regulatory certainty.
      Sec. 108. Expedited approval of exportation of natural gas to Ukraine and North Atlantic Treaty Organization member countries and Japan.

TITLE II--ONSHORE OIL AND GAS PERMIT STREAMLINING

Subtitle A--Streamlining Permitting

      Sec. 201. Short title.
      Sec. 202. Permit to drill application timeline.
      Sec. 203. Making pilot offices permanent to improve energy permitting on Federal land.
      Sec. 204. Administration.
      Sec. 205. Judicial review.

Subtitle B--BLM Live Internet Auctions

      Sec. 211. Short title.
      Sec. 212. Internet-based onshore oil and gas lease sales.
TITLE I--NATURAL GAS GATHERING ENHANCEMENT

SEC. 101. SHORT TITLE.

    This title may be cited as the `Natural Gas Gathering Enhancement Act'.

SEC. 102. FINDINGS.

    Congress finds that--
      (1) record volumes of natural gas production in the United States as of the date of enactment of this Act are providing enormous benefits to the United States, including by--
        (A) reducing the need for imports of natural gas, thereby directly reducing the trade deficit;
        (B) strengthening trade ties among the United States, Canada, and Mexico;
        (C) providing the opportunity for the United States to join the emerging global gas trade through the export of liquefied natural gas;
        (D) creating and supporting millions of new jobs across the United States;
        (E) adding billions of dollars to the gross domestic product of the United States every year;
        (F) generating additional Federal, State, and local government tax revenues; and
        (G) revitalizing the manufacturing sector by providing abundant and affordable feedstock;
      (2) large quantities of natural gas are lost due to venting and flaring, primarily in areas where natural gas infrastructure has not been developed quickly enough, such as States with large quantities of Federal land and Indian land;
      (3) permitting processes can hinder the development of natural gas infrastructure, such as pipeline lines and gathering lines on Federal land and Indian land; and
      (4) additional authority for the Secretary of the Interior to approve natural gas pipelines and gathering lines on Federal land and Indian land would--
        (A) assist in bringing gas to market that would otherwise be vented or flared; and
        (B) significantly increase royalties collected by the Secretary of the Interior and disbursed to Federal, State, and tribal governments and individual Indians.

SEC. 103. AUTHORITY TO APPROVE NATURAL GAS PIPELINES.

    Section 1 of the Act of February 15, 1901 (31 Stat. 790, chapter 372; 16 U.S.C. 79), is amended by inserting `, for natural gas pipelines' after `distribution of electrical power'.

SEC. 104. CERTAIN NATURAL GAS GATHERING LINES LOCATED ON FEDERAL LAND AND INDIAN LAND.

    (a) In General- Subtitle B of title III of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (Public Law 109-58; 119 Stat. 685) is amended by adding at the end the following:

`SEC. 319. CERTAIN NATURAL GAS GATHERING LINES LOCATED ON FEDERAL LAND AND INDIAN LAND.

    `(a) Definitions- In this section:
      `(1) GAS GATHERING LINE AND ASSOCIATED FIELD COMPRESSION UNIT-
        `(A) IN GENERAL- The term `gas gathering line and associated field compression unit' means--
          `(i) a pipeline that is installed to transport natural gas production associated with 1 or more wells drilled and completed to produce crude oil; and
          `(ii) if necessary, a compressor to raise the pressure of that transported natural gas to higher pressures suitable to enable the gas to flow into pipelines and other facilities.
        `(B) EXCLUSIONS- The term `gas gathering line and associated field compression unit' does not include a pipeline or compression unit that is installed to transport natural gas from a processing plant to a common carrier pipeline or facility.
      `(2) FEDERAL LAND-
        `(A) IN GENERAL- The term `Federal land' means land the title to which is held by the United States.
        `(B) EXCLUSIONS- The term `Federal land' does not include--
          `(i) a unit of the National Park System;
          `(ii) a unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System; or
          `(iii) a component of the National Wilderness Preservation System.
      `(3) INDIAN LAND- The term `Indian land' means land the title to which is held by--
        `(A) the United States in trust for an Indian tribe or an individual Indian; or
        `(B) an Indian tribe or an individual Indian subject to a restriction by the United States against alienation.
    `(b) Certain Natural Gas Gathering Lines-
      `(1) IN GENERAL- Subject to paragraph (2), the issuance of a sundry notice or right-of-way for a gas gathering line and associated field compression unit that is located on Federal land or Indian land and that services any oil well shall be considered to be an action that is categorically excluded (as defined in section 1508.4 of title 40, Code of Federal Regulations (as in effect on the date of enactment of this Act)) for purposes of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) if the gas gathering line and associated field compression unit are--
        `(A) within a field or unit for which an approved land use plan or an environmental document prepared pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) analyzed transportation of natural gas produced from 1 or more oil wells in that field or unit as a reasonably foreseeable activity; and
        `(B) located adjacent to an existing disturbed area for the construction of a road or pad.
      `(2) APPLICABILITY-
        `(A) FEDERAL LAND- Paragraph (1) shall not apply to Federal land, or a portion of Federal land, for which the Governor of the State in which the Federal land is located submits to the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture, as applicable, a written request that paragraph (1) not apply to that Federal land (or portion of Federal land).
        `(B) INDIAN LAND- Paragraph (1) shall apply to Indian land, or a portion of Indian land, for which the Indian tribe with jurisdiction over the Indian land submits to the Secretary of the Interior a written request that paragraph (1) apply to that Indian land (or portion of Indian land).
    `(c) Effect on Other Law- Nothing in this section affects or alters any requirement--
      `(1) relating to prior consent under--
        `(A) section 2 of the Act of February 5, 1948 (25 U.S.C. 324); or
        `(B) section 16(e) of the Act of June 18, 1934 (25 U.S.C. 476(e)) (commonly known as the `Indian Reorganization Act'); or
      `(2) under any other Federal law (including regulations) relating to tribal consent for rights-of-way across Indian land.'.
    (b) Assessments- Title XVIII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (Public Law 109-58; 119 Stat. 1122) is amended by adding at the end the following:

`SEC. 1841. NATURAL GAS GATHERING SYSTEM ASSESSMENTS.

    `(a) Definition of Gas Gathering Line and Associated Field Compression Unit- In this section, the term `gas gathering line and associated field compression unit' has the meaning given the term in section 319.
    `(b) Study- Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of the North Atlantic Energy Security Act of 2014, the Secretary of the Interior, in consultation with other appropriate Federal agencies, States, and Indian tribes, shall conduct a study to identify--
      `(1) any actions that may be taken, under Federal law (including regulations), to expedite permitting for gas gathering lines and associated field compression units that are located on Federal land or Indian land, for the purpose of transporting natural gas associated with crude oil production on any land to a processing plant or a common carrier pipeline for delivery to markets; and
      `(2) any proposed changes to Federal law (including regulations) to expedite permitting for gas gathering lines and associated field compression units that are located on Federal land or Indian land, for the purpose of transporting natural gas associated with crude oil production on any land to a processing plant or a common carrier pipeline for delivery to markets.
    `(c) Report- Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of the North Atlantic Energy Security Act of 2014, and every 180 days thereafter, the Secretary of the Interior, in consultation with other appropriate Federal agencies, States, and Indian tribes, shall submit to Congress a report that describes--
      `(1) the progress made in expediting permits for gas gathering lines and associated field compression units that are located on Federal land or Indian land, for the purpose of transporting natural gas associated with crude oil production on any land to a processing plant or a common carrier pipeline for delivery to markets; and
      `(2) any issues impeding that progress.'.
    (c) Technical Amendments-
      (1) Section 1(b) of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (Public Law 109-58; 119 Stat. 594) is amended by adding at the end of subtitle B of title III the following:
      `Sec. 319. Certain natural gas gathering lines located on Federal land and Indian land.'.
      (2) Section 1(b) of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (Public Law 109-58; 119 Stat. 594) is amended by adding at the end of title XXVIII the following:
      `Sec. 1841. Natural gas gathering system assessments.'.

SEC. 105. DEADLINES FOR PERMITTING NATURAL GAS GATHERING LINES UNDER THE MINERAL LEASING ACT.

    Section 28 of the Mineral Leasing Act (30 U.S.C. 185) is amended by adding at the end the following:
    `(z) Natural Gas Gathering Lines- The Secretary of the Interior or other appropriate agency head shall issue a sundry notice or right-of-way for a gas gathering line and associated field compression unit (as defined in section 319(a) of the Energy Policy Act of 2005) that is located on Federal lands--
      `(1) for a gas gathering line and associated field compression unit described in section 319(b) of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, not later than 30 days after the date on which the applicable agency head receives the request for issuance; and
      `(2) for all other gas gathering lines and associated field compression units, not later than 60 days after the date on which the applicable agency head receives the request for issuance.'.

SEC. 106. DEADLINES FOR PERMITTING NATURAL GAS GATHERING LINES UNDER THE FEDERAL LAND POLICY AND MANAGEMENT ACT OF 1976.

    Section 504 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1764) is amended by adding at the end the following:
    `(k) Natural Gas Gathering Lines- The Secretary concerned shall issue a sundry notice or right-of-way for a gas gathering line and associated field compression unit (as defined in section 319(a) of the Energy Policy Act of 2005) that is located on public lands--
      `(1) for a gas gathering line and associated field compression unit described in section 319(b) of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, not later than 30 days after the date on which the applicable agency head receives the request for issuance; and
      `(2) for all other gas gathering lines and associated field compression units, not later than 60 days after the date on which the applicable agency head receives the request for issuance.'.

SEC. 107. LNG REGULATORY CERTAINTY.

    Section 3 of the Natural Gas Act (15 U.S.C. 717b) is amended by adding at the end the following:
    `(g) Deadline for Certain Applications for Exportation of Natural Gas-
      `(1) IN GENERAL- The Commission shall make a public interest determination and issue an order under subsection (a) for an application for the exportation of natural gas to a foreign country through a particular LNG terminal not later than 45 days after receipt of an application under subsection (e) for--
        `(A) the conversion of that LNG terminal into an LNG import or export facility; or
        `(B) the construction of that LNG terminal.
      `(2) APPLICATION- This subsection shall not apply with respect to an application under subsection (a) for the exportation of natural gas--
        `(A) to a foreign country--
          `(i) to which the exportation of natural gas is otherwise prohibited by law; or
          `(ii) described in subsection (c); or
        `(B) if the Commission has made a contingent determination with respect to the application.
      `(3) EFFECT- Except as specifically provided in this subsection, nothing in this subsection affects the authority of the Commission to review, process, and make a determination with respect to an application for the exportation of natural gas.'.

SEC. 108. EXPEDITED APPROVAL OF EXPORTATION OF NATURAL GAS TO UKRAINE AND NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY ORGANIZATION MEMBER COUNTRIES AND JAPAN.

    (a) In General- In accordance with clause 3 of section 8 of article I of the Constitution of the United States (delegating to Congress the power to regulate commerce with foreign nations), Congress finds that exports of natural gas produced in the United States to Ukraine, member countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and Japan is--
      (1) necessary for the protection of the essential security interests of the United States; and
      (2) in the public interest pursuant to section 3 of the Natural Gas Act (15 U.S.C. 717b).
    (b) Expedited Approval- Section 3(c) of the Natural Gas Act (15 U.S.C. 717b(c)) is amended by inserting `, to Ukraine, to a member country of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or to Japan' after `trade in natural gas'.
    (c) Effective Date- The amendment made by subsection (b) shall apply to applications for the authorization to export natural gas under section 3 of the Natural Gas Act (15 U.S.C. 717b) that are pending on, or filed on or after, the date of the enactment of this Act.
TITLE II--ONSHORE OIL AND GAS PERMIT STREAMLINING
Subtitle A--Streamlining Permitting

SEC. 201. SHORT TITLE.

    This subtitle may be cited as the `Streamlining Permitting of American Energy Act of 2014'.

SEC. 202. PERMIT TO DRILL APPLICATION TIMELINE.

    Section 17(p) of the Mineral Leasing Act (30 U.S.C. 226(p)) is amended by striking paragraph (2) and inserting the following:
      `(2) APPLICATIONS FOR PERMITS TO DRILL REFORM AND PROCESS-
        `(A) TIMELINE-
          `(i) IN GENERAL- Not later than 30 days after the date on which the Secretary receives an application for a permit to drill, the Secretary shall decide whether to issue or deny the permit.
          `(ii) EXTENSION- On giving written notice of a delay to the applicant, the Secretary may extend the period described in clause (i) for not more than 2 additional periods of 15 days each.
          `(iii) FORM OF NOTICE- The notice referred to in clause (ii) shall--
            `(I) be in the form of a letter from the Secretary or a designee of the Secretary; and
            `(II) shall include the names and titles of the persons processing the application, the specific reasons for the delay, and a specific date a final decision on the application is expected.
        `(B) APPLICATION CONSIDERED APPROVED- If the Secretary has not made a decision on the application by the end of the 60-day period beginning on the date the application is received by the Secretary, the application shall be considered to be approved, except in a case in which an existing review under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) or the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) is incomplete.
        `(C) DENIAL OF PERMIT- If the Secretary decides not to issue a permit to drill in accordance with subparagraph (A), the Secretary shall--
          `(i) provide to the applicant a description of the reasons for the denial of the permit;
          `(ii) allow the applicant to resubmit an application for a permit to drill during the 10-day period beginning on the date the applicant receives the description of the denial from the Secretary; and
          `(iii) issue or deny any resubmitted application not later than 10 days after the date on which the application is submitted to the Secretary.
        `(D) FEE-
          `(i) IN GENERAL- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary shall collect a single $6,500 permit processing fee per application from each applicant at the time the final decision is made whether to issue a permit under subparagraph (A).
          `(ii) LIMITATION- The fee described in clause (i) shall not apply to any resubmitted application.
          `(iii) TREATMENT OF PERMIT PROCESSING FEE- Of all amounts collected as fees under this paragraph, 50 percent shall be--
            `(I) transferred to the field office where the fee is collected; and
            `(II) used to process leases and permits under this Act, subject to appropriation.'.

SEC. 203. MAKING PILOT OFFICES PERMANENT TO IMPROVE ENERGY PERMITTING ON FEDERAL LAND.

    (a) Definitions- In this section:
      (1) ENERGY PROJECTS- The term `energy projects' includes oil, natural gas, and other energy projects, as defined by the Secretary.
      (2) PROJECT- The term `Project' means the Federal Permit Streamlining Project established under subsection (b).
      (3) SECRETARY- The term `Secretary' means the Secretary of the Interior.
    (b) Establishment- The Secretary shall establish a Federal Permit Streamlining Project in every Bureau of Land Management field office with responsibility for permitting energy projects on Federal land.
    (c) Memorandum of Understanding-
      (1) IN GENERAL- Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall enter into a memorandum of understanding for purposes of this section with--
        (A) the Secretary of Agriculture;
        (B) the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency; and
        (C) the Chief of Engineers.
      (2) STATE PARTICIPATION- The Secretary may request that the Governor of any State in which energy projects on Federal land are located be a signatory to the memorandum of understanding.
    (d) Designation of Qualified Staff-
      (1) IN GENERAL- Not later than 30 days after the date of the signing of the memorandum of understanding under subsection (c), all Federal signatory parties shall, if appropriate, assign to each of the Bureau of Land Management field offices an employee who has expertise in the regulatory issues relating to the office in which the employee is employed, including, as applicable, particular expertise in--
        (A) the consultations and the preparation of biological opinions under section 7 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1536);
        (B) permits under section 404 of Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1344);
        (C) regulatory matters under the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.);
        (D) planning under the National Forest Management Act of 1976 (16 U.S.C. 472a et seq.); and
        (E) the preparation of analyses under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.).
      (2) DUTIES- Each employee assigned under paragraph (1) shall--
        (A) not later than 90 days after the date of assignment, report to the Bureau of Land Management Field Managers in the office to which the employee is assigned;
        (B) be responsible for all issues relating to the energy projects that arise under the authorities of the agency of the employee; and
        (C) participate as part of the team of personnel working on proposed energy projects, planning, and environmental analyses on Federal land.
    (e) Additional Personnel- The Secretary shall assign to each Bureau of Land Management field office identified in subsection (b) any additional personnel that are necessary to ensure the effective approval and implementation of energy projects administered by the Bureau of Land Management field offices, including inspection and enforcement relating to energy development on Federal land, in accordance with the multiple use mandate of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.).
    (f) Funding- Salaries for the additional personnel shall be funded from the collection of fees described in section 17(p)(2)(D) of the Mineral Leasing Act (30 U.S.C. 226(p)(2)(D)) (as amended by section 202).
    (g) Savings Provision- Nothing in this section affects--
      (1) the operation of any Federal or State law; or
      (2) any delegation of authority made by the head of a Federal agency whose employees are participating in the Project.

SEC. 204. ADMINISTRATION.

    Notwithstanding any other law, the Secretary of the Interior shall not require a finding of extraordinary circumstances in administering section 390 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (42 U.S.C. 15942).

SEC. 205. JUDICIAL REVIEW.

    (a) Definitions- In this section:
      (1) COVERED CIVIL ACTION- The term `covered civil action' means a civil action containing a claim under section 702 of title 5, United States Code, regarding agency action (as defined for the purposes of that section) affecting a covered energy project on Federal land.
      (2) COVERED ENERGY PROJECT-
        (A) IN GENERAL- The term `covered energy project' means the leasing of Federal land for the exploration, development, production, processing, or transmission of oil, natural gas, or any other source of energy, and any action carried out pursuant to that lease.
        (B) EXCLUSION- The term `covered energy project' does not include any disputes between the parties to a lease regarding the obligations under the lease, including regarding any alleged breach of the lease.
    (b) Exclusive Venue for Certain Civil Actions Relating to Covered Energy Projects- Venue for any covered civil action shall lie in the district court where the project or leases exist or are proposed.
    (c) Timely Filing- To ensure timely redress by the courts, a covered civil action shall be filed not later than the last day of the 90-day period beginning on the date of the final Federal agency action to which the covered civil action relates.
    (d) Expedition in Hearing and Determining the Action- The court shall endeavor to hear and determine any covered civil action as expeditiously as possible.
    (e) Standard of Review- In any judicial review of a covered civil action, administrative findings and conclusions relating to the challenged Federal action or decision shall be presumed to be correct, and the presumption may be rebutted only by the preponderance of the evidence contained in the administrative record.
    (f) Limitation on Injunction and Prospective Relief-
      (1) IN GENERAL- In a covered civil action, the court shall not grant or approve any prospective relief unless the court finds that the relief is narrowly drawn, extends no further than necessary to correct the violation of a legal requirement, and is the least intrusive means necessary to correct that violation.
      (2) DURATION OF PRELIMINARY INJUNCTIONS- A court shall limit the duration of a preliminary injunction to halt a covered energy project to a period of not more than 60 days, unless the court finds clear reasons to extend the injunction.
      (3) DURATION OF EXTENSION- An extension under paragraph (2) shall--
        (A) only be for a period of not more than 30 days; and
        (B) require action by the court to renew the injunction.
    (g) Limitation on Attorneys' Fees- Sections 504 of title 5 and 2412 of title 28, United States Code (commonly known as the `Equal Access to Justice Act') shall not apply to a covered civil action, nor shall any party in the covered civil action receive payment from the Federal Government for attorneys' fees, expenses, or other court costs.
    (h) Legal Standing- A person filing an appeal with the Department of the Interior Board of Land Appeals shall meet the same standing requirements as a person before a United States district court.
Subtitle B--BLM Live Internet Auctions

SEC. 211. SHORT TITLE.

    This subtitle may be cited as the `BLM Live Internet Auctions Act'.

SEC. 212. INTERNET-BASED ONSHORE OIL AND GAS LEASE SALES.

    (a) Authorization- Section 17(b)(1) of the Mineral Leasing Act (30 U.S.C. 226(b)(1)) is amended--
      (1) in subparagraph (A), in the third sentence, by inserting `, except as provided in subparagraph (C)' after `by oral bidding'; and
      (2) by adding at the end the following:
        `(C) INTERNET-BASED BIDDING-
          `(i) IN GENERAL- In order to diversify and expand the onshore leasing program in the United States to ensure the best return to the Federal taxpayer, reduce fraud, and secure the leasing process, the Secretary may conduct onshore lease sales through Internet-based bidding methods.
          `(ii) CONCLUSION OF SALE- Each individual Internet-based lease sale shall conclude not later than 7 days after the date of initiation of the sale.'.
    (b) Report- Not later than 90 days after the tenth Internet-based lease sale conducted pursuant to subparagraph (C) of section 17(b)(1) of the Mineral Leasing Act (30 U.S.C. 226(b)(1)) (as added by subsection (a)), the Secretary of the Interior shall conduct, and submit to Congress a report describing the results of, an analysis of the first 10 such lease sales, including--
      (1) estimates of increases or decreases in the lease sales, compared to sales conducted by oral bidding, in--
        (A) the number of bidders;
        (B) the average amount of the bids;
        (C) the highest amount of the bids; and
        (D) the lowest amount of the bids;
      (2) an estimate on the total cost or savings to the Department of the Interior as a result of the sales, as compared to sales conducted by oral bidding; and
      (3) an evaluation of the demonstrated or expected effectiveness of different structures for lease sales, which may--
        (A) provide an opportunity to better maximize bidder participation;
        (B) ensure the highest return to the Federal taxpayers;
        (C) minimize opportunities for fraud or collusion; and
          (D) ensure the security and integrity of the leasing process.