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Reauthorization extravaganza

Pipelines in Los Angeles. Photo: Bing Guan/Bloomberg via Getty Images

In addition to appropriations, there's even more critical stuff Congress might not get done in time …

🧪 CFATS terrors: Before recess, Congress allowed an unprecedented lapse of the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards program.

  • Rand Paul blocked a two-year reauthorization right before the Senate left town. So for more than a month, security plans haven't been required for high-risk chemical facilities, and companies haven't been able to screen employees for terrorist ties through the Department of Homeland Security.
  • Industry supports the program and is bringing pressure, so we expect it to be reauthorized at some point soon.

🛢️ Pipeline down: In other safety news, the nation's primary pipeline safety law is poised to expire at the end of September and could face a similar political dilemma with conservatives.

  • The House Republican starting position is to strap a safety reauthorization to a large pro-fossil fuel permitting bill that also would ban state and local restrictions on using gas.
  • Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration reauthorizations are historically bipartisan, but Congress hasn't focused much on the issue this year.
  • Here's another one that might get done toward the end of the year. The PIPES Act of 2020 became law Dec. 27 that year.

✈️ Stalled: Even bipartisan agreement in the House (of all places) might not get the FAA reauthorization done in time.

  • The House moved its version in a 351–69 vote in July, but the Senate's has been delayed in a dispute about pilot training.
  • The House legislation would overhaul environmental permitting for airport construction and expand research for low-carbon jet fuels.
  • Some senators are pushing to set the models for "sustainable aviation fuel," which could have implications for the IRA SAF tax credit.
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