To meet energy and climate goals, the United States needs to accelerate the deployment of a wide variety of energy technologies in areas such as critical minerals, carbon capture and storage (CCS), geothermal energy, and hydrogen. While all energy projects face some similar permitting challenges, specific technologies also face their own unique permitting hurdles. For example, while oil and gas projects can receive a categorical exclusion from the requirement to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) for test well projects, no such categorical exclusion exists for geothermal projects.
In July 2023, the Bipartisan Policy Center convened a private roundtable to explore the pros and cons of specific permitting reforms that tackle challenges unique to individual energy technologies. The workshop was conducted under Chatham House Rule and brought together experts on permitting and technology-specific regulatory challenges from across the political spectrum. This brief does not provide a comprehensive list of permitting reform options, rather it focuses on proposals that have been introduced in legislation this Congress, supplemented by suggestions from roundtable participants.
This roundtable and a separate roundtable that focused on permitting for nuclear energy projects were the fifth and sixth in a series of BPC-convened roundtables on permitting reforms. Prior roundtables focused on public engagement, linear infrastructure (transmission and pipeline), additional National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) reforms, and judicial review. Rather than seek consensus, the goal of these roundtables has been to identify policies that would drive impact and are also politically viable. Issue briefs from previous permitting roundtables may be accessed through the BPC website; they include:
2. Permitting Linear Infrastructure Roundtable (i.e., transmission and pipelines)
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