Negatives Outweigh the Positives in Manchin-Schumer Permitting Bill

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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) released the text of a bill proposing minor changes to the federal permitting process for large infrastructure projects, including energy development. Schumer and Manchin plan to include the legislation in a larger continuing resolution which must pass by September 30 to keep the federal government open. CEI experts reviewed the proposed legislation and issued statements opposing the legislation as currently written.

Director of CEI’s Center for Energy and Environment Myron Ebell said:

“CEI opposes the Manchin-Schumer bill because, although it makes some minor potential improvements in the totally dysfunctional permitting process for major energy infrastructure projects, it also contains major provisions would harm consumers and property owners. For example, the additional authority given to the Secretary of Energy and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to command the construction of high-voltage transmission lines deemed in the national interest and to force consumers to pay the costs through increased electric rates is most obnoxious. If Senator Manchin expects conservatives to support his bill, then he should accept a large number of improving amendments during floor debate. Even better, he should as Chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee conduct a number of hearings and then mark up a serious reform bill that can attract wide support. It is not clear why as chairman he has not already done that.”

CEI senior fellow Mario Loyola said:

“The Manchin permitting proposals contain a lot of important improvements. Unfortunately, those improvements are mere tinkering at the margins of a serious problem that Congress still has not faced up to. Until Congress enacts comprehensive reforms of the infrastructure permitting process, including significant revisions to the National Environmental Policy Act, America will face increasing energy scarcity, and you can forget about any sort of clean energy transition.”

Read more: Loyola for the Wall Street Journal: Renewable Energy? Where’s Your Permit?