(1)(a) Upon request by an applicant or upon its own motion, the commission shall schedule a public hearing, after notice, to determine the need for a natural gas transmission pipeline regulated by ss. 403.9401-403.9425. Such notice shall be published at least 45 days before the date set for the hearing and shall be published in at least one-quarter page size in newspapers of general circulation and in the Florida Administrative Weekly, by giving notice to counties and regional planning councils in whose jurisdiction the natural gas transmission pipeline could be placed, and by giving notice to any persons who have requested to be placed on the mailing list of the commission for this purpose. Within 21 days after receipt of a request for determination by an applicant, the commission shall set a date for the hearing. The hearing shall be held pursuant to s. 350.01 within 75 days after the filing of the request, and a decision shall be rendered within 90 days after such filing.
(b) In the determination of need, the commission shall take into account the need for natural gas delivery reliability, safety, and integrity; the need for abundant, clean-burning natural gas to assure the economic well-being of the public; the appropriate commencement and terminus of the line; and other matters within its jurisdiction deemed relevant to the determination of need.
(c) The commission shall be the sole forum for the determination of need. The determination by the commission of the need for the natural gas transmission pipeline is binding on all parties to any certification proceeding pursuant to ss. 403.9401-403.9425 and is a condition precedent to the conduct of the certification hearing prescribed therein. An order entered pursuant to this section constitutes final agency action. (d) For pipelines regulated under the Natural Gas Act, 15 U.S.C. ss. 717f et seq., a certificate of public convenience and necessity under s. 7(c) of the Natural Gas Act is considered equivalent to the determination of need by the commission for all purposes under ss. 403.9401-403.9425, notwithstanding any provision in paragraph (c) to the contrary. (2) The commission shall have the following powers and duties:
(a) To adopt or amend reasonable procedural rules to implement the provisions of this section.
(b) To prescribe the form, content, and necessary supporting documentation and the required studies for the determination of need.
(3) Any time limitation in this section may be altered by the commission upon stipulation between the commission and the applicant or for good cause shown by any party.