Senate Energy Committee Hearing Examines Permitting Reform Process for Energy Projects

051123 ENR Hearing Permits 
VIDEO:  Senator Hyde-Smith Focuses on States’ Roles in Energy Projects of “National Interest”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) today focused on the rights of states in approving energy projects within their borders as Congress renews efforts to reform the federal permitting process to help ensure the nation’s energy security.

Hyde-Smith raised questions about efforts to limit states’ roles during a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing to examine opportunities for Congress to reform the permitting process for energy and mineral projects.

“We are at a critical moment in time with permitting reform. For the past two years, we have seen the negative effects of permitting delays on domestic energy production and consequently the energy prices paid by American families and businesses,” Hyde-Smith said.  “For issues such as offshore oil and gas leasing to NEPA reform and onshore electric transmission, permitting should be streamlined to get us back on track to becoming energy independent.”

Hyde-Smith questioned a state’s role in approving electric transmission lines within its borders as the Biden administration tries to transform the American energy sector and as interest grows in some sectors to giving the federal regulatory agencies greater authority over projects of “national interest.”

“With respect to transmission facilities, there are proposals under consideration that would limit a state’s role in these projects that are deemed, by the federal government, to be in the national interest.” Hyde-Smith said.  “This hearing was useful to begin understanding how states and their residents might be affected if permitting reform gives the federal government broader powers to site projects, especially if consumers are required to pay for a portion of the project’s costs.”

Hyde-Smith last week cosponsored the Spur Permitting of Underdeveloped Resources (SPUR) Act (S.1456), a reform measure that includes provisions to increase domestic energy and mineral development and streamline permitting of energy infrastructure.

The SPUR Act is one of two Republican-sponsored bills to reform the nation’s broken permitting and environmental review processes, which are currently delaying key energy, infrastructure, and transportation projects.

“I believe there is bipartisan interest in permitting reform because the status quo isn’t working.  Progress on energy, infrastructure, and other public projects are needlessly delayed with drawn out permit processes, environmental reviews, and lawsuits,” Hyde-Smith said.

Hyde-Smith last year fought a Biden administration rule to greatly expand the scope of federal environmental reviews for public works projects, including pipelines, bridges, roads, and other infrastructure.