Energy transport corridors: the potential role of Federal lands in states identified by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, section 368(b).

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On August 8, 2005, the President signed the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct) into law. In Subtitle F of EPAct, Congress set forth various provisions that would change the way certain federal agencies (Agencies) coordinate to authorize the use of land for a variety of energy-related purposes. As part of Subtitle F of EPAct, Section 368 addresses the issue of energy transportation corridors on federal land for oil, gas, and hydrogen pipelines, as well as electricity transmission and distribution facilities. Because of the critical importance of improving the nation's electrical transmission grid, Congress recognized that electricity transmission issues should ... continued below

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Krummel, J.; Hlohowskyj, I.; Kuiper, J.; Kolpa, R.; Moore, R.; May, J. et al. September 1, 2011.

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On August 8, 2005, the President signed the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct) into law. In Subtitle F of EPAct, Congress set forth various provisions that would change the way certain federal agencies (Agencies) coordinate to authorize the use of land for a variety of energy-related purposes. As part of Subtitle F of EPAct, Section 368 addresses the issue of energy transportation corridors on federal land for oil, gas, and hydrogen pipelines, as well as electricity transmission and distribution facilities. Because of the critical importance of improving the nation's electrical transmission grid, Congress recognized that electricity transmission issues should receive added attention when the Agencies address corridor location and analysis issues. In Section 368, Congress specifically directed the Agencies to consider the need for upgraded and new facilities to deliver electricity: In carrying out [Section 368], the Secretaries shall take into account the need for upgraded and new electricity transmission and distribution facilities to (1) improve reliability; (2) relieve congestion; and (3) enhance capability of the national grid to deliver electricity. Section 368 does not require the Agencies to consider or approve specific projects, applications for rights-of-way (ROWs), or other permits within designated energy corridors. Importantly, Section 368 does not direct, license, or otherwise permit any on-the-ground activity of any sort. If an applicant is interested in obtaining an authorization to develop a project within any corridor designated under Section 368, the applicant would have to apply for a ROW authorization and applicable permits. The Agencies would consider each application by applying appropriate project-specific reviews under requirements of laws and related regulations, including, but not limited to, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). Under Section 368, Congress divided the United States into two groups of states: the 11 contiguous western states and the remaining states. Direction for energy transportation corridor analysis and selection in the 11 western states was addressed in Section 368(a) of EPAct, while direction for energy transportation corridor analysis and selection in all other states was addressed under Section 368(b) of EPAct. It was clearly the priority of Congress to conduct corridor location studies and designation first on federal lands in the western states. Under Section 368(a), the Agencies produced a programmatic environmental impact statement (EIS), Designation of Energy Corridors on Federal Land in the 11 Western States (DOE and DOI 2008), that was used in part as the basis for designating more than 6,000 mi (9,656 km) of energy transportation corridors on federal land in 11 western states. Under Section 368(a) of EPAct, Congress clearly stated the Agencies needed to (1) designate energy transportation corridors on federal land, (2) conduct the necessary environmental review of the designated corridors, and (3) incorporate the designated corridors into the appropriate land use plans. Congressional direction under Section 368(b) of EPAct differs from that provided under Section 368(a). Specifically, Section 368(b) requires the secretaries of the Agencies, in consultation with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), affected utility industries, and other interested persons, to jointly: (1) Identify corridors for oil, gas, and hydrogen pipelines and electricity transmission and distribution facilities on federal land in states other than the 11 western states identified under Section 368(a) of EPAct, and (2) Schedule prompt action to identify, designate, and incorporate the corridors into the applicable land use plans. While Section 368(a) clearly directs designation as a necessary first step for energy transportation corridors in the 11 western states, Section 368(b) directs the Agencies to first identify corridors and then schedule prompt action to identify, designate, and incorporate the corridors into applicable land use plans. To comply with the congressional direction provided in Section 368(b), the Agencies investigated corridor identification issues in the Section 368(b) states; this report to Congress provides information that could be relevant to possible future designation of energy corridors. Future designations, if appropriate and necessary, would occur when the Agencies undertake revisions and/or updates to land use plans that guide management decisions on lands located within individual administrative units, such as specific National Forests, National Parks, or Wildlife Refuges. At this time, the Agencies are not proposing any actions or decisions related directly or indirectly to designating energy corridors on federal land under Section 368(b) of EPAct.

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  • Report No.: ANL/EVS/RP-70965
  • Grant Number: DE-AC02-06CH11357
  • DOI: 10.2172/1031451 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1031451
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc846181

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  • September 1, 2011

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • May 19, 2016, 3:16 p.m.

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  • May 23, 2016, 2:43 p.m.

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Krummel, J.; Hlohowskyj, I.; Kuiper, J.; Kolpa, R.; Moore, R.; May, J. et al. Energy transport corridors: the potential role of Federal lands in states identified by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, section 368(b)., report, September 1, 2011; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc846181/: accessed December 11, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.