Speaking with the GAIN Coalition, Albert Wynn, a former Democratic Congressman representing Maryland’s 4th district in the U.S. House of Representatives, was optimistic that permitting reform could find more bipartisan support soon. Noting the progress that has already been made during debt ceiling negotiations, resulting in the Fiscal Responsibility Act, Wynn argues there is a lot more left to be done.
For advocates of renewable energy technologies, permitting reform with regards to solar and wind farms is important for a few reasons. While large infrastructure projects such as offshore wind farms would benefit from reform, the larger issue is the transmission lines needed to move the energy across the country. Permitting reform with regards to transmission lines was notably left out of the FRA.
While many environmental advocates are concerned with building out renewable energy, widespread efficient usage of that power is not possible without more transmission lines being built. At the same time, the permitting process for fossil fuel infrastructure, especially pipelines, is onerous and lengthy. Wynn notes that it can take up to four years to get permits through the EPA and “other local processes,” and that that timeframe is too long for many of the companies investing in these necessary projects.
“We need both,” Wynn says, advocating for an all-of-the-above approach to energy. Recognizing that the U.S. will need to rely on all forms of energy should bring stakeholders to the table to compromise on the best ways to streamline both sides of the permitting process.
Watch the video here: Albert Wynn on Permitting Reform