Patrice Douglas: Permitting reform can get U.S. back on track

Writing in The Washington Times, Patrice Douglas, former chairman of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, highlighted the need for bipartisan permitting reform. As the negotiations around the final permitting reform proposal heat up, lawmakers on the Hill need to recognize the opportunity to forward smart energy policies that will create good paying jobs and facilitate American energy production.

There are multiple permitting reform proposals in different stages on Capitol Hill. Last week, the Biden administration signaled support for Senator Joe Manchin’s bills, highlighting the need for updated mining regulations, and streamlining the permitting process for renewables on federal land.

Many of the different bills focus on modernizing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Douglas writes, “Environmentalists have weaponized the judicial system under the framework of the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA, to delay energy projects regardless of whether the projects promote fossil fuel or clean energy.” NEPA has been leveraged as a tool to oppose both traditional and renewable energy projects, delaying projects and disincentivizing private and public companies from investing capital into ventures that have no guarantee of being completed.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have an opportunity to work together to advance policy in the best interest of the American people. Whether it be pipeline projects, natural gas export facilities or renewable technology developments, we must make it less cumbersome to build in our country. Douglas astutely says, “Energy security is national security…Without reform, the U.S. is limiting our own potential.” Congress should prioritize reforming the permitting process now to get U.S. energy back on track.

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