Why Does The United States Need To Reform Its Energy Project Permitting Process?
Several lawmakers in the U.S. Senate introduced a new bill to streamline the buildout of energy projects by amending the judicial processes that are often used by activists to delay permit approvals.
Written by Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), the Revising and Enhancing Project Authorizations Impacted by Review (REPAIR) Act would speed up projects’ implementation by limiting the ability of groups or individuals to file suits under the National Environmental Policy Act, a law that requires federal agencies to assess the environmental effects of proposed actions before making decisions. The REPAIR Act would require individuals filing a suit against a project to file within 30 days and requires that individuals be directly affected by the project in order to sue.
The legislation also would establish a “mediation process” that would allow the project developer and the permit-issuing agency to address a challenge directly in order to move a project forward. Finally, the bill allows offshore wind projects access to the same judicial review process as offshore oil and gas projects.
Why is this legislation needed in the United States?
According to the Energy Equipment and Infrastructure Alliance (EEIA), which the Metals Service Center Institute is a member of, so far in 2023 only six new project permit applications have been submitted by operators, and those only represent 104 miles of new pipeline. In all of 2022, there were 15 projects totaling only 300 miles of pipeline.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration also has found that, during 2017, 28 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d) of U.S. interstate natural gas pipeline capacity was completed and put in service. In 2022, that number was less than one bcf/d.