This week, U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) introduced S.4815, the Simplify Timelines and Assure Regulatory Transparency (START) Act. The legislation, which features 45 cosponsors, is a comprehensive proposal to address many bureaucratic hurdles that exist with federal review and approval of energy infrastructure projects. Senator Capito’s bill would codify important reforms to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) implemented during the previous administration, which GAIN supports. It also includes important provisions to expedite review processes, limit lengthy litigation, and prohibit the adoption of “social cost of greenhouse gasses” in federal rulemakings. The legislation would also streamline the process for completing the Mountain Valley Pipeline.
Introduction of the START Act comes at a critical time as Congressional leaders are planning to vote on permitting reform. The debate on changes to federal environmental laws has been a top priority of fellow West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin. As a condition of his support for the Inflation Reduction Act, Senator Manchin was promised a floor vote on his own proposal before the end of September. While he has yet to release a final version of his legislation, it is expected to be unveiled soon.
Below is a statement that can be attributed to me, Craig Stevens, spokesman for the GAIN Coalition:
“The United States is blessed with energy resources, but getting them to communities, homes, and factories, is a challenge. Streamlining energy infrastructure permitting is critical to getting energy to market, and Senator Capito’s bill aims to accomplish this goal. Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle have identified inefficiencies in the environmental review and permitting process as a roadblock for the completion of renewable energy and fossil fuel projects.
We are encouraged to see many lawmakers cosponsor Senator Capito’s legislation, which adds to the growing momentum in Washington to get responsible permitting reform across the finish line. Modernizing outdated regulations, as the START Act proposes, must be a top priority for Congress as a means to addressing the ongoing energy crisis.”