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Volume XII, Number 335

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For Different Reasons, Members of Congress in Both Parties Have Put Off the Permitting Reform Essential to Reach Our Renewable Energy Future.

As millions in Florida face the wrath of our warming oceans in the guise of Hurricane Ian, Inside EPA is reporting that enough Democrats and Republicans opposed Senator Manchin's proposal to streamline the permitting of energy projects that he has waived the white flag for now. 

Some thought the proposal went too far.  Others thought it didn't go far enough.  But no one can credibly argue that we can timely make the changes to our energy infrastructure necessary to complete our transition to renewable energy without streamlining the permitting of energy infrastructure projects, and the inevitable litigation that follows that permitting.  Senator Manchin's proposal was a meaningful, albeit likely inadequate, step in the correct direction.  

Now it seems like Congress won't act until at least 2023 and there's certainly no guarantee it will act then.

In the meantime, climate catastrophes continue, the supply of the cleaner energy we want continues to be inadequate, and the list of renewable energy projects mired in permitting or NIMBY litigation grows longer.

Some of the major provisions in the permitting proposal included language expediting approval of the Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline favored by Manchin; a two-year deadline for National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review of major energy projects; expanded Federal Energy Regulatory Commission authority to approve construction of new transmission lines; criteria for designation by the president of high-priority energy projects; and new tighter deadlines for filing litigation against projects.

Democrats late Sept. 26 released the text of stopgap spending bill with permitting language closely resembling Manchin’s original plan. That text, however, omitted previously included language on states’ reviews of federal actions under section 401 of the Clean Water Act (CWA) that struck a middle ground between a Biden EPA proposal and Trump-era rules, and which had drawn opposition from environmentalists and Republicans alike.

Source: Inside EPA

©1994-2022 Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 271
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About this Author

Jeffrey R. Porter, Environmental Attorney, Mintz Levin, Risk Analysis Lawyer
Member

Jeff leads the firm’s Environmental Law Practice. He is also a member of the firm’s Policy Committee. For 23 years, he has advised clients regarding complex environmental regulatory compliance and permitting issues, including issues relating to air and water discharges and hazardous waste storage and disposal. In 2011 and 2012, the firm received the Acquisition International Legal Award for “US Environmental Law Firm of the Year.” The awards celebrate excellence and reward firms, teams and individuals for their contribution to client service, innovation and commitment to quality.

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