H.R. 3301, North American Energy Infrastructure Act

H.R. 3301

North American Energy Infrastructure Act

Rep. Fred Upton

June 24, 2014 (113th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact

Floor Situation

On Tuesday, June 24, 2014, the House will consider H.R. 3301, the North American Energy Infrastructure Act, under a rule.  H.R. 3301 was introduced on October 22, 2013 by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) and was referred to the House Committees on Energy and Commerce, Transportation and Infrastructure, and Natural Resources.  The bill was marked up by the Energy and Commerce Committee on May 7 and 8, 2014 and was ordered reported, as amended, by a vote of 31-19.[1]  The bill was discharged by the other committees.

[1] House Committee Report 113-482, Part I.

Bill Summary

H.R. 3301 eliminates the requirement that oil and gas pipelines and electric transmission lines that cross U.S. borders with Mexico or Canada obtain a Presidential Permit.  The bill establishes a new, more efficient approval process by requiring developers to obtain a “certificate of crossing” for cross-border oil pipelines and electric transmission facilities.  Within 120 days of final action under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), the relevant federal official must issue a certificate of crossing, unless construction of the cross-border segment is not in the U.S. public interest.  The relevant officials are, respectively, the Secretary of State for oil pipelines and the Secretary of Energy for electric transmission facilities.[2]  H.R. 3301 does not require a certificate of crossing for natural gas pipelines, which already have an existing approval process under the Natural Gas Act.

H.R. 3301 eliminates the requirement that the Department of Energy (DOE) approve imports and exports of natural gas to or from the U.S., Canada, or Mexico across a U.S. border.  It also eliminates the requirement that DOE grant authorization to transmit electric energy from the U.S. to a foreign country.

The new approval process does not apply to cross-border oil or gas pipelines or electric transmission facilities 1) operating at the time of the bill’s enactment; 2) for which a Presidential Permit has been issued; 3) for which approval under the new process has been granted; or 4) for which an application is pending, until the earlier of the date on which the application is denied or July 1, 2016.

Under the new process, subsequent approval is not required for modifications to cross-border oil and gas pipelines or electric transmission lines.  The effective date of H.R. 3301 is July 1, 2015.

[2] For approval, cross-border electronic transmission facilities must also be consistent with the Electric Reliability Organization and the applicable regional entity, as well as any Regional Transmission Organization or Independent System Operator with operational or functional control over the cross-border segment.


“The current approval process[es] for [cross border] oil and natural gas pipelines and electric transmission facilities are set forth in a series of Executive Orders created in an ad hoc fashion over multiple Presidential administrations. . . .  One must apply for a Presidential Permit, not only for a new project, but for any existing project that previously has been approved and undergone a change in ownership or modification.”[3]  Different agencies are responsible for issuing Presidential Permits, depending on the type of facility being sought.  The State Department authorizes oil pipelines; natural gas pipelines are authorized by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC); and “electricity transmission facilities are authorized by the Department of Energy.”[4]  Though Congress has the constitutional authority to regulate such foreign commerce, it has not yet done so.[5]  As such, various Executive Orders have created a system that is multi-layered, confusing, and unpredictable.

Energy production in the U.S. and Canada has surged in recent years. In addition, Mexico is pursuing reforms that would allow increased use of its significant energy potential.[6]  The electricity relationship between the U.S. and Canada is especially critical, as the countries’ “transmission systems are physically interconnected at over 35 points with linkages stretching across the border from the Pacific Northwest to New England.”[7]  In addition, “Canada is currently the United States’ largest foreign supplier of electricity, with exports to the U.S. typically representing anywhere from 5-10% of Canada’s total production.”[8]  Although it represents only a small percentage of total U.S. electricity consumption, such electricity is critical specific regions such as New England and the Midwest.[9]

“The ability of the U.S., Canada, and Mexico to allow for greater trade and utilization of energy resources is key.  In order for the U.S. to fully benefit from the energy renaissance that is underway in North America there must be a recognition that cross-border energy projects are in the best interest of our nation and should be encouraged, not discouraged by regulatory roadblocks.”[10]  H.R. 3301 pursues this end by creating a more uniform, transparent, and modern approval process.

[3] Id. at 5.
[4] Adam Vann & Paul W. Parfomak, Presidential Permits for Border Crossing Energy Facilities (Oct. 29, 2013) at Summary.
[5] Committee Report 113-482, Part I at 5.
[6] Committee Report 113-482, Park I at 4.
[7] House Energy and Commerce Committee: North American Energy Infrastructure Act Will Bolster U.S.-Canada Electricity Relationship (May 7, 2014).
[8] Id.
[9] Id.
[10] Committee Report 113-482, Park I at 4.


According to CBO estimates, implementing H.R. 3301 would have no significant net effect on the federal budget.  In addition, the bill would not affect direct spending or revenues.


1)         Reps. Welch (D-VT), Pingree (D-ME), Kuster (D-NH), and Shea-Porter (D-NH) Amendment #1 – Amendment ensures pipeline modifications receive a thorough environmental review process.

2)         Rep. Waxman (D-CA) Amendment #2 – Amendment excludes any project with a pending permit application from the new approval requirements in the bill.

3)         Rep. Pallone (D-NJ) Amendment #3 – Amendment ensures that the complete length of cross-border projects would be subject to full environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

Additional Information

For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.