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Commentary: Biden’s Permitting Proposal Would Backfire, Add Red Tape for Affordable Energy Projects

By Patrice Douglas

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Commentary by Patrice Douglas originally published by RealClearEnergy and RealClearWire

Right now, the development of energy projects of any kind takes years because of the hundreds of permitting hurdles that hold up projects in a long and complex process. In June, the Fiscal Responsibility Act took a step forward in reforming the permitting system by establishing time limits for environmental reviews and providing accountability for missed deadlines. However, the Biden administration recently issued proposals that could overwrite this progress by adding more red tape to an already difficult process.

The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) announced additional reforms to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) that aim to expedite permitting for renewable energy projects and infrastructure. Under the proposed rule, agencies would be allowed to flag certain projects as not having a significant impact on the environment, speeding up their processes while leaving others in the dust.

The Biden administration’s NEPA proposal advances an inefficient permitting scheme and provides yet another roadblock to energy projects in the U.S The reforms reverse important provisions of a 2020 NEPA rule that reigned in extreme public comment rules that were setting back project approvals and increasing red tape. The 2020 changes brought commons sense into the public comment process by eliminating the ability to use public comment to delay. By changing these rules again, we are codifying “environmental justice” – something that Congress did not intend or include in the Act. This new Biden proposal perpetuates an inefficient system, and provides yet another roadblock to energy projects in the U.S.

The Biden administration’s strategy with this proposal is to hamstring traditional oil and gas projects and artificially push green energy projects ahead – effectively codifying their misguided “environmental justice” priorities into law without approval from congress This tactic is similar to the administration’s recent policies on electric vehicles. Biden’s EPA has proposed vehicle emissions standards so tough that they are a de facto EV mandate.

These latest reforms to NEPA adopt a similar strategy to rush the transition to renewable energy, but they would only succeed in burdening consumers through higher prices and jeopardizing energy reliability.

Time and time again, the Biden administration tip toes around the actual problem under the guise of transitioning to clean energy, catering to the environmental lobby and liberal supporters. With our current infrastructure, we cannot rely solely on renewables to meet our energy needs. We’ve seen states like California try and rush the implementation of renewables, which resulted in them falling back on traditional fuel sources to fill energy gaps.

This is not just a national issue. We’ve seen other countries preemptively transition to renewable energy dependency like Germany, which left its energy security vulnerable in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Germany enforced broad mandates for green technologies that placed a heavy economic burden on its citizens and facilitated a reliance on foreign energy. The war in Europe quickly illustrated the shortcomings of relying on intermittent renewable energy sources, as well as hostile actors, plunging Germany, and Europe, into a volatile energy crisis.

The U.S. has stepped up to support our ally, fortifying our relationship and providing affordable and dependable energy to Germany for years to come. In 2023, the U.S. has entered significant long-term agreements to supply LNG to Germany, which has further positioned our nation to emerge as a global leader in energy production. Not only does this help our allies but it also boosts our national and local economies. Without the streamlined ability to build more energy infrastructure projects in a timely manner, the U.S. cannot continue to expand support for our allies.

In spite of our current permitting process, the oil and gas industry employs over 1 million hard-working Americans and contributes $1.7 trillion to our national GDP. The oil and gas industry provides many high-paying dependable jobs, while generating much needed tax revenue for state and local economies that support education, healthcare and law enforcement. If this is what the oil and gas industry is providing our country right now, you can only imagine the possibilities that a streamlined process and an increase in energy projects can provide our country. The current permitting process is holding hostage the potential of American innovation and is allowing for citizens to miss opportunities and economic benefits of a boosted energy industry.

It is imperative that the Biden administration fully address the inefficiencies of the current permitting process, as well as the shortfalls of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, to ensure a strong energy sector for years to come. Instead of picking winners and losers and giving short cuts to certain energy projects, the Biden Administration should apply thorough but efficient reviews to all projects.

Patrice Douglas is an attorney and former chairman of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.

This article was originally published by RealClearEnergy and made available via RealClearWire.

Deneen Borelli

Deneen Borelli is the author of Blacklash: How Obama and the Left are Driving Americans to the Government Plantation. Deneen is a contributor with Newsmax Broadcasting. She is a former Fox News contributor and has appeared regularly on “Hannity,” “Fox & Friends,” “Your World with Neil Cavuto,” and “America’s Newsroom.” She has also appeared on Fox Business Network programs “Making Money with Charles Payne,” “The Evening Edit with Liz MacDonald,” and “Cavuto: Coast to Coast.” Previously, Deneen appeared on MSNBC, CNN, the BBC and C-SPAN. In addition to television, Deneen co-hosted radio programs on the SiriusXM Patriot channel with her husband Tom. Recently, Deneen co-hosted the Reigniting Liberty podcast with Tom. Deneen is a frequent speaker at political events, including the FreedomWorks 9.12.2009 March on D.C. which drew a crowd estimated at over 800,000 people. Deneen is also an Ambassador with, a social media platform that promotes free speech, and with the America First Policy Institute (AFPI) which advances policies that put Americans first. Deneen testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources in May 2011 and before the Ohio House Public Utilities Committee in December 2011. Previously, Deneen was a host, Outreach Director with overseeing its outreach program, a Project 21 Senior Fellow, and Manager of Media Relations with the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). Prior to joining CORE, Deneen worked at Philip Morris USA for 20 years. During her corporate career at Philip Morris she worked in various positions, her last as Project Management Coordinator in the Information Management department where she was responsible for the department’s mandated quality processes, communications, sales information and database management. Deneen began her Philip Morris career as a secretary and advanced to positions of increasing responsibilities. Deneen worked full-time and attended classes at night for 11 years to earn her B.A. in Managerial Marketing from Pace University, New York City. Deneen served on the Board of Trustees with The Opportunity Charter School in Harlem, New York. She appeared in educational videos for children, worked as a runway fashion model, and auditioned for television commercials. Her interests include ancient history, pistol target shooting, photography, and volunteering at her church. Deneen currently resides in Connecticut with her husband Tom.

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