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White House Looks To Speed Up Clean Energy Permits

The White House’s Council on Environmental Quality released a proposal on Friday that would change the way clean energy projects are reviewed for their impact on the environment. The government’s goal: to speed up the process. 

The proposal is geared toward changing the National Environmental Policy Act—or NEPA—regulations by lumping environmental reviews of multiple projects together instead of reviewing them one at a time. 

The proposal would also see federal agencies the ability to exclude even more project categories that would not need to be reviewed, and would limit environmental reviews that federal agencies have determined to have a significant and long-term impact. 

The White House hopes that the proposed changes to NEPA regulations will speed up the transition from fossil fuels and toward green energy.

NEPA regulations—and their litigious nature—are often the reason why some major projects drag on for years. The current cumbersome process would make it difficult for the country to meet its green energy goals.

Earlier this week, Senator Joe Manchin pushed for faster approval of high-voltage power lines as part of the permitting reform the Senator has been clamoring for for months. Manchin is asking for the federal government to step in whenever electric transmission projects get stuck at the state level. 

Machin has championed the permitting reform cause for some time. 

The debt limit deal that Congress reached in May included provisions for making it easier for fossil fuel and renewable energy projects to get licenses via tweaking NEPA regulations. In that deal, Republicans managed to score a win on at least one front—with getting everyone to agree on a one-year limit on environmental assessments and two years on environmental impact statements. 

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By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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