WASHINGTON (Sept. 23, 2022)—On Wednesday the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chair Joe Manchin released his energy permitting reform bill which is intended to intended to streamline the permitting process outlined under the National Environmental Policy Act [NEPA]. Sen. Manchin’s bill includes a mandate for agencies to approve the contentious Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline project from West Virginia to Virginia, and would move the legal venue for challenges to the pipeline from the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond to the U.S. Circuit Court for the District of Columbia Circuit. In addition, his proposal would expand the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s authority over transmission permitting and allow the Department of Energy to designate certain projects for an expedited process.
Robert L. Glicksman is the J. B. and Maurice C. Shapiro professor of Environmental Law and a nationally and internationally recognized expert on environmental, natural resources, and administrative law issues.
In response to the release of Sen. Manchin’s energy bill Professor Glicksman offered this analysis to Reuters:
“The deadlines for completion of environmental impact statements and environmental assessments come straight from the Trump regulations. Two years to prepare an environmental impact statement, one year to prepare an environmental assessment. I’ve criticized those guidelines as being arbitrary, plucked out of thin air, and also not necessary because there’s significant literature, including a report issued by the Congressional Research Service a few years ago, that NEPA is not really the culprit in delaying infrastructure projects.”
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