Tuesday, October 8, 2013

HR 3208 Introduced – Vehicular Natural Gas Facilities

I mentioned earlier that Rep. McKinley (R,WV) introduced HR 3208, an act to clarify that certain natural gas facilities are not subject to the Natural Gas Act. I mistakenly guessed that this had to do with exportation of natural gas. It turns out that the bill would expand slightly the current exemption from the Natural Gas Act (15 USC 717) for facilities that provide natural gas for vehicular use.

Vehicular Natural Gas Facilities Exemption

The bill would add a new paragraph to §717 that would exempt any facility that “liquefies, stores, processes, or delivers natural gas for vehicular natural gas or other end use purposes” {§717(e)}. The previous language (which remains untouched) to any “any sale or transportation of vehicular natural gas” {§717(d)} with some restrictive caveats that are not mentioned in this new paragraph.

This new language would appear to really only affect companies that are already regulated under the Natural Gas Act as it would allow them to own and operate ‘vehicular natural gas’ retail facilities that would not be federally regulated under that act.

This will become more important since, as the natural gas supply continues to expand, natural gas will become a more useful source for fueling vehicular transportation beyond the current fleet use. This will make it easier for pipeline distribution companies to establish vehicle fueling stations free of the cost of some federal regulations.

Moving Forward

This is one of those apparently innocuous technical corrections to the US Code that will have important implications down the road. I suspect that this will quietly make its way to the floor of the House in one of those ‘suspension of the rules’ actions that will be little noticed and will receive similar treatment in the Senate. That is, of course, if Congress can get past their current contretemps over spending issues.

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