This week, the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) held a panel discussion regarding the future of America’s energy infrastructure featuring noteworthy voices from both the energy industry and policymakers. Congressman Kurt Schrader (D-OR) gave the opening remarks explaining where both Republicans and Democrats currently stand in regards to environmental policy.
Speaking about the relationship between the energy industry and the U.S. economy, Schrader remarked,
“Who would’ve thought 10 years ago that we would be virtually energy independent…And that’s because of some of the great technology and innovation that’s occurred in an energy sector that’s revitalized parts of this country.”
After Schrader’s remarks, the panel discussion was introduced featuring: Marty Durbin, President of the Global Energy Institute; Alan Armstrong, CEO of Williams Companies; Jason Grumet, President of BPC and Amy Harder, a national energy and climate reporter from Axios, who served as moderator of the panel. The panel answered a variety of questions including how our nation can reduce carbon emissions, other issues around climate change, and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) reform.
NEPA reform was a key point of discussion at the panel. Regarding NEPA, Durbin commented that industries have been working on these regulatory changes for decades, working with multiple administrations of both parties. He continued saying,
“[While] we need this permitting reform to be able to do big things with regard to climate, let’s not forget we need it for every other infrastructure project out there as well. The Chamber and Tom Donohue have been saying for years, it should not taking longer to get a yes or no for a project than it takes to actually build the project. This was something we needed in order to do the big things we needed to do across the board.”
The proposed NEPA regulations would be the first comprehensive update since 1978. Modernizing NEPA is long overdue and would allow for important infrastructure projects across the nation to be completed safely and efficiently. BPC’s panel discussion was a promising step forward for necessary, bipartisan action around strengthening energy infrastructure.