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Manchin Pushes For Faster Permitting Of High-Voltage Power Lines

Senator Joe Manchin is calling for faster approval of high-voltage power lines as part of the permitting reform he has been seeking to pass for months.

Manchin, Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, is calling for provisions in the reform for the federal government to intervene when electric transmission projects get “stuck at the state level,” the Senator is expected to say in prepared remarks at Wednesday’s hearing at the committee on the permitting reform.  

The committee is discussing today opportunities for Congress to reform the process for permitting electric transmission lines, pipelines, and energy production on federal lands.

Energy permitting reform has been a priority for Manchin, a Democratic Senator of West Virginia.

However, permitting reform debates have been unproductive so far as Republican Senators and utilities have been opposing some of the proposed reforms.

“Over the last year there has been an attempt to paint transmission permitting reform as just another subsidy for intermittent renewable energy,” Manchin said in the remarks carried by Bloomberg.

“If that were the case, I would not support it.”

In May this year, Senator Manchin introduced a new bill aimed at accelerating the permitting process for oil, gas, renewables, mineral extraction, and power transmission projects to address domestic energy security.

Even U.S. renewable energy associations and the biggest oil and gas industry lobby are united by a common cause—getting permitting reforms done to unlock the full benefits of the Inflation Reduction Act and boost domestic energy production. In one of the most unusual 'alliances' in recent months, the American Petroleum Institute (API) and industry groups of clean energy producers and utilities have been urging Congress to amend the legislation on project permitting, including shortening the timelines for review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).    

In April, Senator Manchin said at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce event that the Senate should not wait for a perfect piece of legislature to take action on permitting reform.

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“I truly believe in my heart of hearts, this is the defining moment. If we don't get it done this year, we don't get it done — because I don't think by 2024, in a heavy, hot contested election year, you're going to have this on the front of the burner,” he said.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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