National business and union leaders have expressed support for the bipartisan Federal Permitting Reform and Jobs Act (S. 2324), led by Senators Rob Portman, Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ). Senators Dan Sullivan (R-AK) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) are original cosponsors of this legislation to improve the federal permitting process for some of the largest infrastructure projects and build on efforts to update this process started in 2015.
In 2015, Senator Portman and then-Senator Claire McCaskill co-authored the Federal Permitting Improvement Act, which Congress ultimately enacted into law as Title 41 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. That law, now known as FAST-41, significantly reformed the federal infrastructure permitting process while leaving environmental protections in place. Most significantly, it created the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council, which brings together agencies at the start of the permitting process for some of the largest, most complicated infrastructure projects (covered projects) to write out a comprehensive plan for the permitting process across agencies. The public can track the permitting progress for each of those projects at www.permits.performance.gov.
The following national business and union leaders support the Federal Permitting Reform and Jobs Act:
- Former Senator Claire McCaskill, co-author of FAST-41: “I was proud to work with Senator Portman in 2015 to create the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council and FAST-41 permitting reforms. Since then, I’ve been pleased to see those efforts reduce bureaucratic delays in the infrastructure permitting process while still protecting the environment. The Federal Permitting Reform and Jobs Act will continue and expand on those important achievements, and I am glad my former colleagues—Senators Portman, Sinema, Sullivan, and Manchin—are working together to advance these commonsense reforms.”
- Doug Peterson, Business Roundtable Smart Regulation Committee Chair and President and Chief Executive Officer of S&P Global Inc: “Business Roundtable CEOs commend Senators Portman, Sinema, Manchin and Sullivan for sponsoring the Federal Permitting Reform and Jobs Act, and we strongly urge lawmakers to include it in the bipartisan infrastructure package currently being negotiated. We look forward to working with Congress and the Administration on a permitting system that is equal to the tasks before us. Rebuilding America’s infrastructure and accelerating the energy transition requires that we build on the bipartisan progress that has been made over the last decade. That includes removing the pending sunset on landmark legislation that established the federal Permitting Dashboard and the Permitting Council, two innovations that have created a more efficient permitting system. The Federal Permitting Reform and Jobs Act does that, while adding important permitting best practices that have consistently received strong bipartisan support. This permitting reform would help unleash the private sector investment necessary to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure and fuel long-term prosperity.”
- Sean McGarvey, President of North America’s Building Trades Unions: “The permitting reforms instituted by FAST-41 were long overdue. The procedures set forth in FAST-41 to standardize interagency coordination and consultation have put us on a path toward better coordination among agencies and deadline setting that was lacking in the permitting process and frustrating construction owners, contractors, and workers for years. Senators Portman and Sinema’s continued efforts in the Federal Permitting Reform and Jobs Act will result in even greater certainty and transparency in the federal permitting process.”
- Martin Durbin, President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce: “The U.S. Chamber of Commerce strongly supports S. 2324, the ‘Federal Permitting Reform and Jobs Act,’ which would reauthorize Title 41 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST-41) of 2015 to help improve the efficiency and coordination of federal permitting decisions for critical infrastructure. The Federal Permitting Reform and Jobs Act would help build the economy of the future as well as provide well-paying jobs building more resilient highways and other infrastructure linking neighborhoods to businesses and job centers, and providing better access to clean water and affordable energy. We thank Senators Portman and Sinema for their work on this important bipartisan bill.”
- Heather Reams, Executive Director for Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions: “Thanks to Senators Rob Portman, Kyrsten Sinema, Dan Sullivan and Joe Manchin for working diligently to improve the permitting process for desperately needed clean energy infrastructure in America. Since the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST-41) was first made law, projects covered under its provisions were able to shave more than two years off of the average time to produce their required environmental impact reports. For clean energy infrastructure, two years makes a huge difference in reduced emissions, cleaner air and water, and increased economic activity and jobs where they are needed most. Congress should follow suit and quickly approve the bipartisan Federal Permitting Reform and Jobs Act, which will permanently reauthorize and expand the FAST-41 program, a policy reform that has been proven to boost America’s competitiveness without lowering critical environmental or health protections.”
- Alex Herrgott, President of the Washington, DC non-profit Permitting Institute and former Executive Director of the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council: “I applaud Senators Portman and Sinema for introducing the bipartisan Federal Permitting Reform and Jobs Act because bipartisan support for the Permitting Council has paid dividends for jobs, the economy, and the environment. The Council has delivered a 60% average reduction in time to process permits while maintaining strong protection for the environment, vulnerable communities, and our historical and cultural landmarks. These improvements have helped create more than 100,000 new jobs across all infrastructure sectors, and are growing as more than $100 billion projects begin their FPISC permitting journey over the next year. These results are worthy of continued investment, and I fully support additions in this legislation that empower Executive Director Harada and her team to fill the resources gap at the state, Tribal and local level—where permitting bottlenecks often occur.”
- Michele Stockwell, Executive Director of BPC Action: “BPC Action commends Sens. Portman (R-OH), Sinema (D-AZ), Manchin (D-WV), and Sullivan (R-AK) for their leadership in introducing the Federal Permitting Reform and Jobs Act. Permanently authorizing Title 41 of the FAST Act has long been a priority for the Bipartisan Policy Center. Building smarter, cleaner infrastructure will require moving significantly faster than we have in recent decades, and this legislation is an important step toward reaching that goal. We look forward to working with the Congress to see this important legislation included in the final bipartisan infrastructure package.”
- Rich Powell, Executive Director of ClearPath Action: “We can only build new clean energy infrastructure and reduce CO2 emissions as fast as we can permit the projects. The Federal Permitting Reform & Jobs Act (S.2324) led by Senator Portman will build on the progress made by FAST-41 and cut through the unnecessary red tape that stymies infrastructure. This bipartisan effort will accelerate clean energy deployment and provide more certainty for the permits needed to break ground on exciting new clean energy projects.”
- Ben Ritz, Director of the Center for Funding America’s Future and Elliott Long, Senior Policy Analyst at the Progressive Policy Institute: “As Congress prepares to authorize more than a trillion dollars of infrastructure spending, it’s never been more important that taxpayers get the most bang for their buck from these projects. PPI has long called for controlling costs by cutting red tape and expediting the federal permitting process in a way that preserves important environmental protections. We applaud Sens. Sinema, Portman, Manchin, and Sullivan for their leadership on this important cause and urge their colleagues to incorporate the Federal Permitting Reform and Jobs Act into the upcoming bipartisan infrastructure bill.”
- Rich Nolan, President and CEO of National Mining Association: “The Federal Permitting Reform and Jobs Act (FPRJA) is a critically important effort to ensure the United States can rebuild and modernize American infrastructure and provide the essential supply chains to make it happen. The Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council, being reauthorized in the FPRJA, has been an unquestioned success in improving the timeliness, predictability and transparency of the federal environmental review and authorization process for covered infrastructure projects. This bipartisan legislation provides the leadership Washington needs to sustain momentum to reduce the barriers to creating good, American jobs, reshoring critical supply chains and investing in the infrastructure the nation so clearly needs. Now is the moment to double down on American infrastructure and this bill is a key part of doing just that.”
- Laura Abram, Director of Legislative and Public Affairs for Leeward Renewable Energy: “Leeward Renewable Energy strongly supports the bipartisan Federal Permitting Reform and Jobs Act, which will support the deployment of solar and wind energy on federal land by encouraging greater coordination among federal agencies and complement the positive steps the Department of Interior and Bureau of Land Management are taking to improve the environmental review process for renewable energy projects. Leeward is committed to delivering responsibly developed clean energy to meet the Energy Act of 2020’s bipartisan goal to issue permits enabling the production of 25 gigawatts of electricity from renewable energy on federal lands by 2025.”?
- David Hardy, CEO of Ørsted North America: “Thank you Senators Portman, Sinema, Manchin and Sullivan for your leadership in introducing legislation to reauthorize the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council. This council plays a valuable role in steering offshore wind projects through the complex federal permitting process. The FPISC will be critical for enabling the U.S. to meet President Biden’s goal of deploying 30GW of offshore wind by 2030. We look forward to working with you and urge Congress to pass this important legislation.”
- Chip Kline, Chairman of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority and Executive Assistant to the Governor of Louisiana for Coastal Activities: “Title 41 of the FAST Act has been instrumental in reducing permitting delays to move our state’s cornerstone $2 billion coastal restoration and sediment diversion project forward. We applaud efforts to improve the effectiveness of FAST-41 and urge Congress to make this program permanent.”
- Levi Esquerra, Senior Vice President for Native American Advancement & Tribal Engagement (SVP NAATE): “The University of Arizona applauds Senator Sinema and Senator Portman’s introduction of this legislation and the timely action to include tribal governments and “Native corporation projects” as “Covered Projects” eligible under the new rules. I look forward to the Council’s publication of their “Best Practices Report” addressing improvements to engaging with Federally Recognized Tribes, tribal corporations, and other Native stakeholders.”