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Senator Joe Manchin introduced a new bill on Tuesday aimed at accelerating the permitting process for oil, gas, renewables, mineral extraction, and power transmission projects to address domestic energy security.
The Democratic Senator of coal and natural gas-producing West Virginia has been working for months to garner support from both sides of the aisle for a permitting reform that would shorten the timelines for permitting all types of American energy and mineral infrastructure without bypassing environmental laws or community input.
Permitting reform legislation has failed in recent months, also because critics and some Democrats have accused Senator Manchin of basically giving handouts to the fossil fuel industry. Republicans did not support previous bills because Senator Manchin supported President Joe Biden's Inflation Reduction Act.
"There is overwhelming bipartisan recognition that our current permitting processes aren't working, and equally bipartisan support for addressing it through comprehensive permitting reform legislation," Senator Manchin said in a press release.
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).
Last month, 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.
"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.
"You cannot become and maintain the super status that we have as far as the superpower of the world unless you have reliable energy security, and in order to get energy security, we've got to be able to do things."
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.