Permitting reform in Congress has been a long and drawn out battle. Though both Republicans and Democrats can agree that common sense reform to our federal government’s burdensome rules and regulations is needed, political infighting has stalled any meaningful progress. Now, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has said that Sen. Manchin’s permitting overhaul will get a floor vote. Hopefully, there will be bipartisan agreement on the legislation this time.
In exchange for Senator Manchin’s support of the IRA earlier this year, it was expected that his permitting reform legislation would be considered after the fact. However, progressives on the left, upset with Democrats for entertaining expediting fossil fuel projects, and Republicans, angry with Manchin for his IRA support and the power the bill gives the federal government, combined to torpedo the proposal.
Manchin’s bill will be considered as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) after it failed to be included in the NDAA’s base text. Though there is similar opposition from either side for a variety of reasons, the bill represents a tangible solution towards remedying the onerous permitting process in the U.S. Senator Manchin has also expressed support for attaching it to the end of year funding bill should it not be supported in the NDAA.
As inflation and the War in Ukraine have illustrated, strong domestic energy security has never been more important. Reforms to the permitting process is a significant step towards strengthening our energy sector, both for renewables and non-renewables alike. In a break compared to his previous versions, the one set for a vote ditches language on transmission lines that was opposed by Republicans and the Chamber of Commerce. Manchin’s bill also ensures completion of the crucial Mountain Valley Pipeline, a project that is 94 percent complete but has been delayed by legal challenges and regulatory hurdles. The legislation would also set hard timelines for National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) reviews, as well as require the President to designate a list of energy projects that are a priority for energy producers, transporters and consumers.
The GAIN Coalition supports the significant reform to permitting that has hamstrung so many energy infrastructure projects across the country. We urge lawmakers on Capitol Hill to vote for the bipartisan legislation that takes an important step towards securing our domestic energy sector. Put politics aside and help solve the issues plaguing American companies and individuals across the country.