President Trump welcomed officials from across the nation at the White House last Thursday, June 8th to discuss the need to begin a national dialogue on repairing the state of America’s decaying infrastructure. The President discussed the punishingly burdensome regulations that prevent projects from receiving permits required to begin construction. He also reiterated his goal to reduce permit wait times from ten years or more, to two years or fewer through removing these needless roadblocks.
Vice President Pence lauded the bipartisan attendance and support for infrastructure reform. Eight Governors, eleven mayors, five county commissioners, two tribal leaders, and two agriculture commissioners were present. With support on both sides of the aisle, the long neglected roads, railways and bridges of America should finally receive the attention they deserve, and the President’s push is a tremendous step in that direction.
The GAIN Coalition is eager to see the Trump Administration’s efforts to begin the important process of involving the entire country in its infrastructure plan. Crafting a national consensus on the need to revamp and repair crumbled American bridges, roads and more puts the country in a position to prosper and grow. A commitment that crosses state boundaries is paramount to improving the status of infrastructure in our country.
Members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hear Thursday from President Donald Trump’s picks to fill two of three vacancies at the Federal Energy Regulatory Committee (FERC), the federal agency tasked with overseeing the nation’s power grid and interstate natural gas pipeline network.
Earlier this month, President Trump nominated Neil Chatterjee, an energy aid to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and Robert Powelson, a Pennsylvania Public Utility Commissioner and president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners.
In addition, POLITICO reported that President Trump is expected to nominate Jones Day attorney Kevin McIntyre to fill the third vacancy and serve as chairman of the commission.
FERC has been without quorum since February leaving at least $50 billion worth of energy infrastructure projects stalled or slowed until the empty posts are filled, according to Bloomberg:
“For the first time in FERC’s 40-year-history, the agency doesn’t have enough commissioners for a quorum to vote on project applications. At least a half-dozen pipelines valued at $12 billion face imminent delays, while projects valued at $38 billion are slogging through an approval process that’s slow in the best of times. An additional $25 billion of proposed developments just beginning the application process also could be slowed if the situation persists late into the year.”
Thursday’s confirmation hearing comes as the White House lays out its vision for a highly anticipated $1 trillion infrastructure package, which will undoubtedly include projects dependent on FERC’s ability to return to quorum.
Schedule: The hearing will take place at 10:00 AM ET on Thursday, May 25 in room 366 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building. A live webcast will also be available here.
Photo Credit: Ryan McKnight via Flickr