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H.R. 351 (114th): LNG Permitting Certainty and Transparency Act

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Jan 28, 2015.

(This measure has not been amended since it was introduced. The summary has been expanded because action occurred on the measure.)

LNG Permitting Certainty and Transparency Act

(Sec. 2) Directs the Department of Energy (DOE), for proposals that must also obtain authorization from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission or the United States Maritime Administration to site, construct, expand, or operate liquified natural gas (LNG) export facilities, to issue a decision on an application for authorization to export natural gas within 30 days after the later of: (1) the conclusion of the review to site, construct, expand, or operate the LNG facilities required by the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA); or (2) the date of enactment of this Act.

Deems any NEPA review to be concluded: (1) 30 days after publication of a required Environmental Impact Statement if the project needs one; (2) 30 days after publication by DOE of a Finding of No Significant Impact if the project needs an Environmental Assessment; and (3) upon a determination by the lead agency that an application is eligible for a categorical exclusion pursuant to regulations under NEPA.

(A "categorical exclusion" under NEPA is a category of actions which do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment and which have been found to have no such effect in procedures adopted by a federal agency in implementing environmental regulations and for which, therefore, neither an Environmental Assessment nor an Environmental Impact Statement is required.) Confers original and exclusive jurisdiction upon the U.S. Court of Appeals for the circuit in which the export facility under an application will be located over any civil action for the review of: (1) a DOE order regarding the application, or (2) DOE failure to issue a final decision on the application.

Requires the Court, if it finds in a civil action that DOE has failed to issue a final decision on an application, to order DOE to issue one within 30 days.

Requires the Court to set any civil action brought under this Act on the docket for expedited consideration as soon as practical after the filing date of the initial pleading.

(Sec. 3) Amends the Natural Gas Act to set as a condition for approval of any authorization to export LNG that the DOE Secretary require the applicant to disclose publicly the specific destination or destinations of any such authorized LNG exports.