• Johnson Bill - U.S. House of Representatives House Resolution 351
  • March 24, 2015
  • Law Firm: Leech Tishman - Pittsburgh Office
  • A bill aimed at speeding up the permit approval process for exporting liquefied natural gas was approved in the U.S. House by a vote of 277-133 on January 28. 2015. House Resolution 351 was introduced by Rep. Bill Johnson of Ohio and supported mostly by party lines, with some Democratic support, including Tim Ryan of Ohio and Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania.

    The rationale behind this bill, called the LNG Permitting Certainty and Transparency Act, is to make the process of permit approval more efficient and transparent. As supporters have pointed out, only five of the 27 non-Free Trade Agreement applications received by the Department of Energy (“DOE”) since 2010 have reached a final decision. Further, there are currently only five approved export terminals for liquid-natural gas and none of them have been fully completed. This has slowed down the ability of U.S. companies to enter the international arena as competitors in natural gas. This bill would impose a 30-day deadline on the DOE after required environmental studies are completed, to issue a determination and grant jurisdiction to whatever Court of Appeals the proposed facility sits under authority in order to compel a determination if one is not released within that timeframe.

    The bill is scheduled for committee in the U.S. Senate. A similar bill failed in the Senate after passing the House last year, but supporters are hopeful that the change of party control will lead to a different outcome.