Natural Gas

House Votes to Speed Up Approval for Natural Gas Pipelines

Several Democrats sign on to GOP bill


The House passed legislation on Thursday that would require the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to approve applications for natural gas pipelines within 12 months.

Members passed the Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act, H.R. 1900, in a 252-165 vote that saw 26 Democrats support the GOP bill.

The bill is part of what could be the GOP's last major legislative push on energy in 2013. The House passed legislation on Wednesday to speed up applications for drilling on federal land and another bill to block pending federal rules on fracking.

Republicans said the gas pipeline bill is needed because demand for natural gas is rising across the country, but producers are having trouble getting gas to the East Coast. Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) said prices in New England could be close to 50 percent higher than the national average because there is not enough pipeline capacity to that region of the country.