Public Act 30 of 1995 grants siting authority for and established a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity process for proposed transmission lines that are greater than 5 miles in length and transferred at 345 kilovolts or more. The application for a proposed transmission line meeting this criteria is treated as a contested case with a one-year deadline for the Commission to either grant or deny the request.
Public Acts 9 and 16 of 1929 (Act 9 MCL 483.101 et seq. and Act 16 MCL 483.1 et seq.) grant siting authority for intrastate natural gas pipelines and both intra and interstate liquid pipelines to the MPSC. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) holds jurisdiction over interstate natural gas pipeline siting.
Applications for Act 9 and Act 16 projects are reviewed by MPSC staff to determine how each case will proceed. A proposed project can be handled on an ex parte basis, foregoing a full hearing process and saving expense for all parties involved, if it meets the following criteria:
All other cases proceed through full contested case proceedings. Interested parties may provide comments or petition to intervene (R 792.10410 Petitions, Page 50) in a case. A proposed intervenor must show that it has or will suffer an injury in fact, and that its affected interests fall within the zone of interest to be protected or regulated by statute or the constitutional guarantee in question.
Neither Act 9 nor Act 16 provide guidance relating to specific criteria for the Commission to consider in its decisions relating to pipeline applications. In 2012, the Commission issued an order in Docket No. U-17020 which stated, "…the Commission will grant an application pursuant to [Act 9 and] Act 16 when it finds that (1) the applicant has demonstrated a public need for the proposed pipeline, (2) the proposed pipeline is designed and routed in a reasonable manner, and (3) the construction of the pipeline will meet or exceed current safety and engineering standards." The Commission is also required by law to determine if there is environmental impacts from the proposed project and whether those can be appropriately mitigated.
The MPSC is considering ways to implement siting related recommendations from the Pipeline Safety Advisory Board as outlined in it's final report to the Governor issued on December 20, 2018.