Monday, February 19, 2024

Review - HR 7073 Introduced – Next-Gen Pipelines

Last month, Rep Weber (R,TX) introduced HR 7073, the Next Generation Pipelines Research. The bill would require the Department of Energy to establish a new grant program to “carry out demonstration projects on low- to mid-technology readiness level subjects to achieve deployment of technologies”. It would also require DOE and DOT to conduct a joint R&D program to carry out basic research projects. Finally, the bill would require DOE to establish the National Pipeline Modernization Center. Also incluces a new NIST pipeline metrology program. The bill would authorize $50-million, $30-million, $15-million, and $1.5 million through 2028 for the four new programs.

This bill is very similar to HR 9349 [removed from paywall] introduced by Webber in the 117th Congress. Most of the changes are editorial in nature; §4 of the earlier bill, for instance, is changed to include the earlier language in a new §40344 to be added to the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (PL 117-158). The major change, however, is that a new §8 has been added to the bill that would provide an off-set for the new spending authorized in the bill by reducing funding in §10771, Department of Energy research, development, and demonstration activities, of the Research and Development, Competition, and Innovation Act (PL 117-167), after extending that spending authorization through 2028. The new version of the bill also adds a new §7, NIST Pipeline Metrology, authorized at $2.5-million per year through 2028.

HR 9349 was introduced too late in the 117th Congress for any action to be taken.

Moving Forward

Webber and his three cosponsors {Rep Caraveo (D,CO), Rep Lucas (R,CO), and Rep Obernolte (R,CA)} are all members of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee to which this bill was assigned for consideration. This means that there may be sufficient influence to see this bill considered in Committee. I do not see anything in the legislation that would engender organized opposition. I suspect that there would be bipartisan support for the bill, but I am not sure that it would be sufficient to allow the bill to move to the floor of the House under the suspension of the rules process.


Webber’s staff has done an interesting job of neutralizing the money problem with this bill. Since no new monies are authorized, the fiscal hawks are less likely to object to the bill. The extension of the existing spending authorizations (albeit at somewhat reduced levels), give the environmental folks a reason to support the bill. And, of course, industry is sure to support federal funding of pipeline research efforts.


For more details about the provisions of this bill, see my article at CFSN Detailed Analysis - - subscription required.

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