Washington, D.C. – Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA) Federal Affairs Advisor Michael Zehr released the following statement of support for S. 4402, legislation introduced by Senator John Cornyn and supported by several others, which would streamline and provide regulatory relief in the permitting process for all infrastructure projects:
“We commend Senator Cornyn and the bill co-sponsors for introducing this common-sense measure to get our nation back on track during these tough economic times. Literally tens of billions in private investment is sitting on the sidelines because of endless permitting hoops, frivolous litigation and delays preventing the building of critical energy infrastructure – both for traditional and renewable resources – which could put tens of thousands of Americans back to work today if only our policymakers and regulators could learn to get to ‘yes.’
“This simple, but very important bill, merely clarifies that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ current Nationwide Permitting process – which has been in place in some fashion and updated under both Democrat and Republican Administrations since the 1970s – satisfies federal agency consultation requirements outlined in the Endangered Species Act. Further, it also allows provides a limited authorization for the Nationwide Permit to comply with Clean Water Act obligations if they have minimal environmental impacts. All projects have to comply with all other existing federal regulations and the Corps must document and certify that projects would have no impact on endangered species or their critical habitat.
“Our nation has to get serious about building the energy infrastructure we need to have access to secure, affordable, and increasingly clean forms of energy – especially with the tens of millions unemployed and families budgets being stretched thin. Passage of smart measures like this will help create regulatory certainty for energy consumers that our critical infrastructure can get built without continued arbitrary roadblocks.”