May 11, 2023
WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Senator Angus King today continued his vocal advocacy for the need to reform America’s energy permitting process, to fulfill the promise of last year’s historic renewable energy legislation. In a hearing of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources (ENR) Committee, King questioned Jason Grumet, the CEO of American Clean Power Association, about the need for permitting reform that would expedite advance mining and other crucial energy projects in order to achieve a clean energy future.
King began his remarks by discussing why permitting reform is required for a clean energy future.
“In order to achieve an environmental future, whether it's transmission or mining critical minerals, in order to achieve a green energy future, we have to build things. And so I welcome the testimony that you all have provided today. The 18 years for the transmission line is a perfect example. Whenever my staff tells me it's going to take a couple of years to do something, I'll share this with you. I always remind them that Eisenhower retook Europe in eleven months. That was a pretty daunting task. And I believe that what we need to do is talk about, and we can talk about whether what it should be two years or three years or what it should be. Also shorten the time limit to file litigation. As the Chairman said, the litigation should be on a fast track docket, not to deny people their voice, but to be sure that they speak up in a timely way, because we cannot achieve the environmental goals that many of us share without permitting reform,” King stated.
King then asked Grumet about the need to expedite permitting litigation and prevent years-long delays.
“What about shortening the time period for litigation from years to months?” King asked.
Grumet responded, “So I don't think we have a formal position on judicial reform, but I will note that no deadlines, which basically allows a six year window to challenge a process, seems a little unnecessary. I think that the Fast Act, which moved that deadline to two years for transportation projects, seems like a constructive direction. I know Senator Manchin’s legislation has even stricter, so I think I can't give you a month, but 72 is probably too many.
“I think one of the things that's important to realize here is that we're all talking about projects that get delayed or take a long time, and it's a lengthy and crumbling process. What we don't know are all the projects that never even get to the stage of being proposed. The opportunity cost, if you will. Because if a utility or a developer or a mining company is contemplating a project, one of their considerations is how long will it take and how much will it cost before I can actually start to realize any return on the investment,” Senator King concluded.
As a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Senator King has repeatedly emphasized the importance of permitting reform to unlocking the promise of a clean energy future. In addition to the recent discussion with FERC, he has stressed the importance of streamlining and speeding project timelines while maintaining environmental standards to the Secretaries of Energy and Interior.