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All I Want For Christmas Is....Permitting Reform [PODCAST]

In this episode of the Environmental Law Monitor, Liam Donovan and Christine Wyman from Bracewell’s Policy Resolution Group join host Daniel Pope to discuss permitting reform and what that looks like during the lame duck session on the Hill.

What are we talking about with permitting reform and what is it?

In a global sense, we're talking about permitting reform. But then, earlier this year, we saw particularly Senator Manchin, chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, put pen to paper and put together a proposal that was circulated and tried to be included in funding bills. But Senator Manchin’s bill is seen as the starting place right now for when people are talking about permit reform within Congress. It has a lot of different provisions and some coordination provisions. Some things would change how energy projects are permitted.

Why is there a push to clean up “waters of the United States issues” under the Clean Water Act when we heard about that from the Trump administration every day for four years?

One of the cornerstones of their domestic policies is clean energy. Clean energy projects require much of the same reviews and authorizations that traditional energy projects require. It's in the administration's best interest to ensure that that's a predictable and efficient process so that they can move out those energy infrastructure projects swiftly. There's a lot of cross-over between those types of energy infrastructure projects. That's why the administration is interested in building out of transmission lines or carbon dioxide pipelines that are associated with carbon capture utilization and sequestration.

What are the dynamics for seeing some permitting reform legislation this legislative session? What do we have to look forward to when the new representatives and senators arrive on the Hill?

There's really two loose ends that Congress needs to wrap up. The first is government funding, which is not on track to be dealt with by the mid-December deadline. They're going to have to build in another week or two weeks. That is being targeted as an opportunity to move some other policies, potentially a tax title or something along those lines. The other is the defense authorization bill. That is usually a consensus piece of legislation. There's usually a House version, a House Democratic version, and a Senate version that has to be more bipartisan by virtue of the way that chamber works. There's no formal conference because the Senate didn't pass their version.  That's typically how these things work so that's what makes it a little bit tricky.

The opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the firm or hosts.

© 2023 Bracewell LLPNational Law Review, Volume XII, Number 341

About this Author

Daniel Pope Energy Environmental Attorney

Daniel Pope provides environmental permitting and regulatory assistance to industrial companies, particularly in the energy sector. He also helps in the defense of environmental enforcement actions and advises on the environmental aspects of transactional matters.

Prior to joining Bracewell, Daniel served in the Office of the Attorney General of Texas as an intern in the Civil Medicaid Fraud Division, and eventually as a law clerk in the Special Litigation Division. He also served as a judicial assistant for The Honorable Fred Biery, Judge to the US District Court for the Western...

Liam Donovan Bracewell

Liam Donovan develops effective advocacy and communications strategies for clients on tax, infrastructure, energy and other public policy issues, and helps guide these clients through the federal legislative and regulatory process.

Liam joined Bracewell from Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), where he served as ABC’s lead on tax, energy and fiscal legislative issues for more than six years, representing the construction industry before the House, Senate, White House and federal agencies, while providing strategic guidance on the association’s political activities. He also...

Christine Wyman, Bracewell Law Firm, Energy and Environment Law Attorney
Senior Counsel

Christine Wyman assists clients in developing policy strategies and implementing them through effective participation in the legislative and regulatory process.  Her work covers a broad range of issues, including energy, environmental, permitting, and pipeline safety.  Her experience includes advocating for energy, oil and gas, and industrial clients before Congress and a variety of federal agencies, including the White House, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Department of Interior, and U.S. Department of...