Miss. Senator Receives Testimony on Effects of Slow Pipeline, Transmission Projects on Consumers & Investors 

072623 ENR Permitting
VIDEO:  Senator Hyde-Smith Advocates Benefits of Streamlined Energy Infrastructure Permitting Process.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) today advocated for energy infrastructure permitting reforms to facilitate the delivery of U.S.-produced natural gas and other energy resources as necessary to unlock the country’s potential for sustainable growth.

At an Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing to review opportunities to reform the process for permitting electric transmission lines, pipelines, and energy production on federal lands, Hyde-Smith focused on the effects that Biden administration delays and overly burdensome permitting processes have on consumers, investors, and industry.

“Currently, the permitting process that we’re all so concerned about is centered around a cumbersome bureaucratic process that delays and hinders so many energy projects, especially in Mississippi and Gulf States.  The lengthy and unpredictable permitting procedures have led to increased project costs which discourages investments, as we well know, and hampers the path to regain energy independence,” Hyde-Smith said.

Hyde-Smith cosponsored the Spur Permitting of Underdeveloped Resources (SPUR) Act (S.1456), which several witnesses endorsed as a positive next step to streamline permitting processes for energy infrastructure following some reforms included in the recently-enacted Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023, the debt limit bill.

Hyde-Smith asked Chad Teply, The Williams Companies senior vice president for Transmission and Gulf of Mexico Williams, whether the Biden administration is “a willing partner in permitting and developing the pipeline infrastructure necessary for maximizing production of our domestic natural gas supplies.”

“I think right now we have challenges to production and infrastructure development across the country.  Whether I would deem that a willing partner that would be hard to say right now,” Teply testified.  “I would say that with the permitting reforms that we’re talking about, ultimately those types of steps taken by this body and others, can continue to move our country forward and as well as the globe forward with respect to emission reductions that can be supported by natural gas infrastructure.”

Hyde-Smith also addressed how permitting delays affect consumers.

“Do you agree that a streamlined permitting process would provide more certainty for utilities, and would therefore benefit customers and economic development, as well as increase safety and reliability of the natural gas industry?” Hyde-Smith asked.

“The streamlined permitting process, with respect to customer impact, drives directly to costs,” Teply responded.  “Projects that are stalled, delayed, and ultimately cancelled, there is still a cost to that development activity because over time customers can bear that cost whether that be from affordability, also reliability, and potentially safety.”  

Hyde-Smith has been a consistent critic of the U.S. Department of the Interior and other agencies for their delays in facilitating oil and gas production on federal lands and in the Gulf of Mexico—a situation that not only affects the U.S. economy but its standing in the world.