U.S. Needs to Reduce Reliance on Foreign Energy & Combat Enviro Change

U.S. Needs to Reduce Reliance on Foreign Energy, Build New Infrastructure & Combat Climate Change

America Needs Permitting Reform

By Lynn Good & Brendan Bechtel

America Needs Permitting Reform to Reduce U.S. Reliance on Foreign Energy, Build New Infrastructure & Combat Climate Change

With passage of H.R. 1, the Lower Energy Costs Act, the House of Representatives launched the opening salvo for permitting reform this Congress. Business Roundtable applauds this action and encourages the Biden Administration and the Senate to engage in discussions to get meaningful, bipartisan permitting reform done. Successful permitting reform will unlock America’s full potential, make the U.S. an energy powerhouse and help address climate change. All while ensuring that we continue protecting the environment.

Recent congressional action on infrastructure and energy demands planning, permitting and building an unprecedented amount of new infrastructure within the next decade. Congress made historic investments in our nation’s competitiveness, allocating $973 billion to upgrade our aging transportation and water systems, expanding broadband access to communities across the country, investing in critical energy infrastructure and clean energy technologies and making our systems more resilient against evolving threats like cyberattacks and climate change. And, if we’re serious about combatting climate change, we must engage in permitting reform discussions and reach a bipartisan consensus to clear the way for innovative American clean energy technology.

We’re beginning to see the benefits from these laws but reforming the country’s onerous permitting process is essential to delivering them. As of February, nearly $200 billion has been announced for over 20,000 projects nationwide, including funding for significant bridge repair projects and clean energy projects in all 50 states. Research by Business Roundtable shows that every dollar spent on infrastructure yields nearly $4 in economic growth over 20 years, making infrastructure an investment that pays serious long-term dividends.

Many of these projects will kick off a multi-year, complex permitting process at the time we need them most. Unfortunately, the permitting process remains a labyrinth of red tape, costly delays and litigation. Studies have shown regulatory reviews took an average of 4.5 years before construction could begin on new projects and those delays were often followed by lengthy court challenges. For our nation’s most complex projects, the permitting phase will often far exceed the amount of time spent actually in construction. These delays undermine U.S. economic growth and competitiveness by increasing the appeal of investing abroad where projects can be built quickly and risk is lower. Now is the time for policymakers to take bold, bipartisan action.

Permitting reform would also reduce our reliance on foreign energy and allow the U.S. to export more energy to our friends and allies. Russia’s war in Ukraine, production cuts from OPEC and ongoing price fluctuations have underscored the critical importance of energy security. If we’re going to advance the energy transition, the permitting process needs to be nimbler and better resourced. Timeliness is an enabler to our collective energy supply leadership, and it can be improved significantly – and it can be done while ensuring we’re protecting the environment.

We urge policymakers to improve the permitting process to incentivize capital investment here in the United States, boost innovation, help address energy costs and create jobs without undermining environmental laws. Specifically, Congress should designate one federal agency to lead each project’s permitting review process, require that lead agency to make permitting decisions within 90 days of the public comment period, and improve best practices for agency review and coordination. Policymakers should also apply existing reforms to a larger universe of projects, expedite the approval process for projects that do not have a significant environmental impact, bring states along in the process through coordinated decision making and require legal challenges be filed within 150 days of a project’s approval.

Business Roundtable, the voice of America’s CEOs, welcomes House passage of H.R. 1 and urges Congress to work together on a bipartisan path forward. Permitting reform will result in a more modern, efficient process and ensure a cleaner, more secure energy future while supporting economic growth and American jobs.


Lynn Good is Chair, President and Chief Executive Officer of Duke Energy Corporation and Business Roundtable Smart Regulation Chair.

Brendan Bechtel is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Bechtel and Business Roundtable Infrastructure Chair.

This article was originally published by RealClearEnergy and made available via RealClearWire.


(TLB) published this article By Lynn Good & Brendan Bechtel with permission and our appreciation for this perspective

Header featured image (edited) credit: City/cars/RealClearEnergy



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