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Linear Infrastructure: Options for Efficient Permitting of Transmission and Pipeline Infrastructure

Accelerating the federal permitting process for clean energy and other infrastructure projects is critical to lowering emissions, reducing energy costs, increasing energy reliability, and enhancing U.S. energy and supply chain security. Building linear infrastructure—transmission lines and pipelines for hydrogen, carbon dioxide (CO2), and natural gas—is essential to meeting these goals. Linear infrastructure transports energy, fuels, and CO2 from the point of creation to where they are needed, an enormous and often underrecognized task that requires substantial investment and planning. The permitting process for interstate linear infrastructure projects introduces especially unique and complex challenges. In May 2023, the Bipartisan Policy Center convened a private roundtable under the Chatham House Rule that brought together experts from across the political spectrum to explore a menu of options for improving the permitting system for linear infrastructure and achieving the shared goals of energy reliability and affordability, environmental responsibility, public participation, and decarbonization.

This roundtable was the second in a series on permitting. The first roundtable focused on public engagement, with the takeaways published in the issue brief titled Empowering Communities while Streamlining Clean Infrastructure Permitting. The goal of this roundtable was to have robust discussions on a range of policy options, weighing the pros and cons of each.

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