API: Biden administration must fix broken permitting process that prevents U.S. energy development

World Oil Staff January 23, 2023

(WO) — The American Petroleum Institute (API) called on the Biden administration to take action to fix the broken permitting process that is stymying U.S. energy development.

In a letter to White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) Chair Brenda Mallory, API Vice President of Corporate Policy Aaron Padilla argued that CEQ’s recent National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Guidance on Consideration of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Climate Change could harm the development of critical energy projects – from oil and natural gas to renewables. The letter also urged the administration to instead work with stakeholders and bipartisan lawmakers in support of durable NEPA permitting reform.

“API shares the administration’s goal of reducing GHG emissions throughout the economy while meeting the needs of U.S. consumers and our allies abroad with affordable, reliable and cleaner energy. But in order to fulfill these goals, we need a consistent, timely and predictable framework for approving critical energy infrastructure. CEQ’s policy guidance undermines the certainty that project developers need to make significant capital investments in energy and underscores the need for statutory permitting reform,” Padilla said.

API outlines CEQ provisions harmful to the U.S. energy industry

In the letter, API outlines the many harmful provisions of CEQ’s guidance, including the duplication and disregard of other agencies’ NEPA reviews and GHG regulations, which could result in significant delays in agency processing time and compromise the U.S. energy supply and the deployment of lower carbon solutions.

“The delays this Guidance will likely lengthen are for the very projects our nation and our allies need: natural gas and oil on federal lands and in federal waters, interstate natural gas pipelines and natural gas and oil pipelines that cross federal lands, LNG terminals, carbon capture, utilization, and storage facilities, and hydrogen facilities. Delays in permitting these much-needed projects would compromise the supply of affordable, reliable energy that U.S. and global consumers use every day,” said Padilla.

Under the current NEPA process, the average environmental impact statement takes four and a half years to complete. 25% of completed impact statements took more than six years. Recent studies have shown that $157 billion in energy investment is waiting in the NEPA pipeline; a two-year NEPA review time limit could spur $67 billion in energy investment.

“Fixing the NEPA permitting process is a priority for API: to establish agency uniformity in reviews, limit review timelines, and reduce the burdens placed on project proponents. This unsound CEQ Guidance is further evidence that the NEPA process remains unnecessarily complex, unreasonably time-consuming, and significantly uncertain, which in turn impedes investment in the nation’s energy resources and infrastructure,” Padilla concluded.

API recently held its annual State of American Energy event, during which members of Congress from both sides of the aisle voiced support for durable permitting reform that will unleash energy development and allow for the U.S. natural gas and oil industry to meet the energy needs of U.S. consumers and our allies abroad.


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