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ALASKA NATURAL GAS TRANSPORTATION ACT OF 1976
AN ACT To expedite a decision on the delivery of Alaska natural gas to United
States markets, and for other purposes. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. This Act may be cited as the “Alaska Natural Gas Transportation Act of 1976". [15 U.S.C. 719 note]
Sec. 2. The Congress finds and declares that
(1) a natural gas supply shortage exists in the contiguous States of the United States;
(2) large reserves of natural gas in the State of Alaska could help significantly to alleviate this supply shortage;
(3) the expeditious construction of a viable natural gas transportation system for delivery of Alaska natural gas to United States markets is in the national interest; and
(4) the determinations whether to authorize a transportation system for delivery of Alaska natural gas to the contiguous States and, if so, which system to select, involve questions of the utmost importance respecting national energy policy, international relations, national security, and economic and environmental impact, and therefore should appropriately be addressed by the Congress and the President in addition to those Federal officers and agencies assigned functions under law pertaining to the selection, construction, and initial operation of
such a system. [15 U.S.C. 719]
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
Sec. 3. The purpose of this Act is to provide the means for making a sound decision as to the selection of a transportation system for delivery of Alaska natural gas to the contiguous States for construction and initial operation by providing for the participation of the President and the Congress in the selection process, and, if such a system is approved under this Act, to expedite its construction and initial operation by (1) limiting the jurisdiction of the courts to review the actions of Federal officers or agencies taken pursuant to the direction and authority of this Act, and (2) permitting the limitation of administrative procedures and effecting the limitation of judicial procedures related to such actions. To accomplish this purpose it is the intent of the Congress to exercise its constitutional powers to the fullest extent in the authorizations and directions herein made, and particularly with respect to the limitation of judicial review of actions of Federal officers or agencies taken pursuant thereto. (15 U.S.C. 719a]
SEC. 4. As used in this Act:
(1) the term “Alaska natural gas” means natural gas derived from the area of the State of Alaska generally known as the North Slope of Alaska, including the Continental Shelf thereof;
(2) the term “Commission" means the Federal Power Commission;
(3) the term "Secretary" means the Secretary of the Interior;
(4) the term "provision of law" means any provision of a Federal statute or rule, regulation, or order issued thereunder; and
(5) the term "approved transportation system” means the system for the transportation of Alaska natural gas designated by the President pursuant to section 7(a) or 8(b) and approved
by joint resolution of the Congress pursuant to section 8. (15 U.S.C. 719b]
FEDERAL POWER COMMISSION REVIEWS AND REPORTS
Sec. 5. (a)(1) Nothwithstanding any provision of the Natural Gas Act or any other provision of law, the Commission shall suspend all proceedings pending before the Commission on the date of enactment of this Act relating to a system for the transportation of Alaska natural gas as soon as the Commission determines to be practicable after such date, and the Commission may refuse to act on any application, amendment thereto, or other requests for action under the Natural Gas Act relating to a system for the transportation of Alaska natural gas until such time as (A) a decision of the President designating such a system for approval takes effect pursuant to section 8, (B) no such decision takes effect pursuant to section 8, or (C) the President decides not to designate such a system for approval under section 8 and so advises the Congress pursuant to section 7.
(2) In the event a decision of the President designating such a system takes effect pursuant to this Act, the Commission shall forthwith vacate proceedings suspended under paragraph (1) and, pursuant to section 9 and in accordance with the President's decision, issue a certificate of public convenience and necessity respecting such system.
(3) In the event such a decision of the President does not take effect pursuant to this Act or the President decides not to designate such a system and so advises the Congress pursuant to section 7, the suspension provided for in paragraph (1) of this subsection shall be removed.
(b)(1) The Commission shall review all applications for the issuance of a certificate of public convenience and necessity relating to the transportation of Alaska natural gas pending on the date of enactment of this Act, and any amendments thereto which are timely made, and after consideration of any alternative transportation system which the Commission determines to be reasonable, submit to the President not later than May 1, 1977, a recommendation
concerning the selection of such a transportation system. Such recommendation may be in the form of a proposed certificate of public convenience and necessity, or in such other form as the Commission determines to be appropriate, or may recommend that no decision respecting the selection of such a transportation system be made at this time or pursuant to this Act. Any recommendation that the President approve a particular transportation system shall (A) include a description of the nature and route of the system, (B) designate a person to construct and operate the system, which person shall be the applicant, if any, which filed for a certificate of public convenience and necessity to construct and operate such system, (C) if such recommendation is for an all-land pipeline transportation system, or a transportation system involving water transportation, include provision for new facilities to the extent necessary to assure direct pipeline delivery of Alaska natural gas contemporaneously to points both east and west of the Rocky Mountains in the lower continental United States.
(2) The Commission may, by rule, provide for the presentation of data, views, and arguments before the Commission or a delegate of the Commission pursuant to such procedures as the Commission determines to be appropriate to carry out its responsibilities under paragraph (1) of this subsection. Such a rule shall, to the extent determined by the Commission, apply, notwithstanding any provision of law that would otherwise have applied to the presentation of data, views, and arguments.
(3) The Commission may request such information and assistance from any Federal agency as the Commission determines to be necessary or appropriate to carry out its responsibilities under this Act. Any Federal agency requested to submit information or provide assistance shall submit such information to the Commission at the earliest practicable time after receipt of a Commission request.
(c) The Commission shall accompany any recommendation under subsection (b)(1) with a report, which shall be available to the public, explaining the basis for such recommendation and including for each transportation system reviewed or considered a discussion of the following:
(1) for each year of the 20-year period which begins with the first year following the date of enactment of this Act, the estimated
(A) volumes of Alaska natural gas which would be available to each region of the United States directly, or indirectly by displacement or otherwise, and
(B) transportation costs and delivered prices of any such volumes of gas by region; (2) the effects of each of the factors described in subparagraphs (A) and (B) of paragraph (1) on the projected natural gas supply and demand for each region of the United States and on the projected supplies of alternative fuels available by region to offset shortages of natural gas occurring in such region for each such year;
(3) the impact upon competition;
(4) the extent to which the system provides a means for the transportation to United States markets of natural resources or other commodities from sources in addition to the Prudhoe Bay Reserve;
(5) environmental impacts;
(6) safety and efficiency in design and operation and potential for interruption in deliveries of Alaska natural gas;
(7) construction schedules and possibilities for delay in such schedules or for delay occurring as a result of other factors;
(8) feasibility of financing;
(9) extent of reserves, both proven and probable and their deliverability by year for each year of the 20-year period which begins with the first year following the date of enactment of this Act;
(10) the estimate of the total delivered cost to users of the natural gas to be transported by the system by year for each year of the 20-year period which begins with the first year following the date of enactment of this Act;
(11) capability and cost of expanding the system to transport additional volumes of natural gas in excess of initial system capacity;
(12) an estimate of the capital and operating costs, including an analysis of the reliability of such estimates and the risk of cost overruns; and
(13) such other factors as the Commission determines to be appropriate. (d) The recommendation by the Commission pursuant to this section shall not be based upon the fact that the Government of Canada or agencies thereof have not, by then rendered a decision as to authorization of a pipeline system to transport Alaska natural gas through Canada.
(e) If the Commission recommends the approval of a particular transportation system, it shall submit to the President with such recommendation (1) an identification of those facilities and operations which are proposed to be encompassed within the term “construction and initial operation” in order to define the scope of directions contained in section 9 of this Act and (2) the terms and conditions permitted under the Natural Gas Act, which the Commission determines to be appropriate for inclusion in a certificate of public convenience and necessity to be issued respecting such system. The commission shall submit to the President contemporaneously with its report an environmental impact statement pre pared respecting the recommended system, if any, and each environmental impact statement which may have been prepared respecting any other system reported on under this section. [15 U.S.C. 719c]
SEC. 6. (a) Not later than July 1, 1977, any Federal officer or agency may submit written comments to the President with respect to the recommendation and report of the Commission and alternative methods for transportation of Alaska natural gas for delivery to the contiguous States. Such comments shall be made available to the public by the President when submitted to him, unless expressly exempted from this requirement in whole or in part by the President, under section 552(b)(1) of title 5, United States Code. Any such written comment shall include information within the competence of such Federal officer or agency with respect to
(1) environmental considerations, including air and water quality and noise impacts;
(2) the safety of the transportation systems;
(3) international relations, including the status and time schedule for any necessary Canadian approvals and plans;
(4) national security, particularly security of supply;
(7) impact on the national economy, including regional natural gas requirements; and
(8) relationship of the proposed transportation system to other aspects of national energy policy. (b) Not later than July 1, 1977, the Governor of any State, any municipality, State utility commission, and any other interested person may submit to the President such written comments with respect to the recommendation and report of the Commission and alternative systems for delivering Alaska natural gas to the contiguous States as they determine to be appropriate.
(c) Not later than July 1, 1977, each Federal officer or agency shall report to the President with respect to actions to be taken by such officer or agency under section 9(a) relative to each transportation system reported on by the Commission under section 5(c) and shall include such officer's or agency's recommendations with respect to any provision of law to be waived pursuant to section 8(g) in conjuction with any decision of the President which designates a system for approval.
(d) Following receipt by the President of the Commission's recommendations, the Council on Environmental Quality shall afford interested persons an opportunity to present oral and written data, views, and arguments respecting the environmental impact statements submitted by the Commission under section 5(e). Not later than July 1, 1977, the Council on Environmental Quality shall submit to the President a report, which shall be contemporaneously made available by the Council to the public, summarizing any data, views, and arguments received and setting forth the Council's views concerning the legal and factual sufficiency of each such environmental impact statement and other matters related to environmental impact as the Council considers to be relevant. [15 U.S.C. 719d]
PRESIDENTIAL DECISION AND REPORT
SEC. 7. (a)(1) As soon as practicable after July 1, 1977, but not later than September 1, 1977, the President shall issue a decision as to whether a transportation system for delivery of Alaska natural gas should be approved under this Act. If he determines such a system should be so approved, his decision shall designate such a system for approval pursuant to section 8 and shall be consistent with section 5(b)(1)(C) to assure delivery of Alaska natural gas to points both east and west of the Rocky Mountains in the continental United States. The President in making his decision shall take into consideration the Commission's recommendation pursuant to section 5, the report under section 5(c), and any comments submit
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