Infrastructure projects are often forced to wait years and years for permit applications to be approved, delaying construction and the important improvements our infrastructure so desperately needs. Interstate natural gas infrastructure projects like pipelines have greatly suffered from this, and two U.S. Senators are hoping to change that. Senators Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and Angus King (I-ME) introduced a bill last week aimed at streamlining the permit process. In support of his bill, Senator Inhofe said:
“For too long, the natural gas pipeline permitting process has been crippled with inefficiencies that unnecessarily delay critical projects for interstate commerce,” Inhofe, a senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said. “By streamlining the permitting process, we can get pipelines from planning to serving the public faster and more efficiently. This bill brings all federal, state and local regulatory agencies to the table early on to coordinate participation—resulting in a more collaborative and timely review process.”
The Interstate Natural Gas Association of America has long lamented the arduous permitting process that pipeline projects have to go through. Their president and CEO, Don Santa, stated:
“Despite the clear need for new pipelines, the permitting process has become more protracted and challenging. While the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission acts in a timely manner on most proposed applications, roadblocks and delays are becoming commonplace at other federal and state permitting agencies. We hope the Senate takes prompt action on this legislation that will facilitate the responsible and orderly development of infrastructure, enabling consumers to enjoy more fully the benefits of America’s abundant and affordable natural gas supply.”
There has already been progress made recently to expedite the permitting process, and CEPI is thrilled to see that these efforts are continuing. In order to expand our vital energy infrastructure and allow for the transport of greater quantities of natural gas, we cannot have projects bogged down by decades of patiently waiting for permits. This is a step in the right direction, and we hope to see more action soon.