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This Democrat and this Republican agree on a major bipartisan win for American energy | Joggingvideo.com
10.4 C
New York
Tuesday, April 23, 2024

This Democrat and this Republican agree on a major bipartisan win for American energy

The United States used to build huge, impressive projects really fast.

We don’t do that anymore. Projects that once took months or a couple of years now take decades.

The U.S. is among the slowest nations in the developed world in approving infrastructure projects – particularly when it comes to energy

Why? As co-chairs of a bipartisan group of governors working on energy policy, we submit that the primary culprit is lousy permitting policies that needlessly drag out projects and which now endanger the massive infrastructure investments the federal government has made since 2021. 

Spencer Cox

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox and Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey speak to reporters outside the White House, Feb. 10, 2023. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

By setting a maximum two-year time limit and establishing guidelines to ensure each project review is spearheaded by just one federal agency, Congress made substantial headway in reducing some of the uncertainty and redundancy plaguing the process. 

We hope Congress and the administration view this success as a down payment –important progress but not sufficient. 

Setting deadlines for federal review solves only part of the problem. Projects approved after years of rigorous environmental assessment and a thorough public comment process can face new delays from endless legal challenges. 

Every state has an example like this. In Utah, a transmission line to carry electricity through the state to deliver low-carbon electricity to California from a wind farm in Wyoming just got approval – also after 15 years. 

In Louisiana, a state-of-the-art coastal restoration project is finally moving forward after six years of review. Time is of the essence to protect communities threatened by shoreline erosion, but the project was still delayed despite being fast-tracked by both the Obama and Trump administrations. 

Further reforms could backstop indefinite challenge periods by establishing clear and durable standards for the public comment process and limiting judicial review once those standards have been met. 

In fact, states can play an important role here. Democratic and Republican governors, through the National Governors Association, are already working together across party lines and state lines on solutions to safely speed up the process for all types of projects: wind, solar, hydropower, nuclear, oil, natural gas, coastal restoration, electric transmission, coal, pipelines, transportation and water infrastructure, forest projects, broadband, and critical minerals. 

Aging U.S. water infrastructure in need of repair Video

And because states and territories play a leading role in developing and building infrastructure projects, a better process would leverage state expertise. Through reforms to allow revenue-sharing and other support, states could hire staff, unleash innovative technologies and apply their on-the-ground expertise to further speed the process without compromising safety. 

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John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, is governor of Louisiana.

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