Buffalo Environmental Law Journal


Daniel Hare

First Page


Document Type



In Copyright


In this paper I propose an original policy solution to the complicated issue of permitting and regulatory review for cross-border natural resource projects to allow for a smoother quicker approval process for certain types of projects. I have specifically designed this new procedure so as to focus on political compromise and minimize political partisanship, while instead concentrating on achieving results. By modi ing the current regulatory standard to a more streamlined model, deserving cross-border natural resource projects can swiftly gain approval, yet environmental, economic, foreign policy, national securit), and other significant concerns will still receive the attention and thorough evaluation they require.

The paper suggests two main changes to the current cross-border natural resource project permitting system. First, my modified standard would use a hybrid permitting scheme, incorporating elements from the Department of State's cross-border oil pipeline permitting process and the Department of Energy less complex cross-border power transmission line model. Second, three valid methods would be available for gaining approval for a permit: (1) permit issued based on a favorable decision of Executive or Secretary of State; (2) permit issued after earning a minimum two-thirds vote in both the House of Representatives and Senate; or (3) permit issued on a state-by-state basis, unless the federal government department responsible for permitting can prove that the project, as a whole, is against the national interest. However the scope of this modified standard would be limited in that it would only be available for natural resource projects coming from a country with equivalent or superior (stricter) environmental and natural resource laws. The paper concludes with a short case study that applies the new and improved permitting scheme to the Keystone XL Pipeline project.