May 02, 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 Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on her support for permitting reform measures and why they are necessary for achieving a clean energy future.
King began by emphasizing the need for permitting reform, and asking the Secretary if she agrees reforms are a priority.
“We're not going to achieve our clean energy goals without permit reform. The Inflation Reduction Act cannot be implemented as long as environmentally sound projects are being in an endless cycle of permitting hell. I hope that the administration will join us, as many of us are working on permitting reform not to lower the environmental standards, but to develop practical, realistic processes to accelerate the process. Deadlines, meaningful deadlines, shorten, and having one agency in charge. Are you committed or will you join us in an effort to achieve environmentally sound permitting reform in order to achieve long term environmental goals?” King asked.
Haaland replied, “Absolutely, Senator. Thank you. We're really working to do things in the right way and, of course, comply with our obligations at the same time. And we do that by making sure that folks are at the table immediate from the beginning so that we don't have to go back and correct something.”
The Senator then asked the Secretary if she will work with Members of Congress, on both sides of the aisle, to achieve this desired clean energy future.
“That's been my experience is if people are at the table early and you can resolve these issues, then the process can continue in some kind of rational time. We're in a race with climate change, and we can't afford ten or 15 years to permit a transmission line or a pump storage project or other environmental projects. What worries me is that we're viewing permitting over here in a kind of traditional way, without being cognizant of the fact that in order to get where we want to get environmentally, we have to build things. And that's not the mindset that's been historically. So I hope you will work with us on this. I think it's critically important, again to get to a clean energy future,” Senator King concluded.
As a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Senator King has advocated for climate solutions that support Maine communities and has been one of the Senate’s most vocal advocates for improving energy technologies and development as a way to unlock America’s clean energy future. As Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Parks, Senator King is also among the Senate’s loudest voices advocating for conserving public lands and encouraging outdoor recreation. Senator King helped lead the passage the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) into law; the legislation includes the Restore Our Parks Act – a bill led by Senator King – and the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) Permanent Funding Act. Over the course of his time in the Blaine House, Governor King was responsible for conserving more land across Maine than all Governors before him combined.