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Finding the Goldilocks Zone for Permitting Reform

A more efficient permitting system for energy infrastructure would reduce energy costs, increase energy reliability, increase quality of life, and reduce emissions. It should be no surprise that there is bipartisan interest in achieving these goals. Last year, Congress passed, and President Joe Biden signed, the Fiscal Responsibility Act. This law includes several reforms to the federal permitting and environmental review process recommended by BPC’s Smarter, Cleaner, Faster Infrastructure Task Force. But more can, and should, be done.

There is both the need and political appetite for more significant improvements to the energy permitting process.

This synthesis report on permitting reform is based on six previous issue briefs, which were informed by a series of stakeholder roundtables aimed at exploring legislative options for a more efficient permitting system. This latest report ranks each of the previously discussed policy options across two dimensions: Effectiveness and Controversy. Following this analysis, each of the six previously published issue briefs are reproduced below for more detail on each policy option and insight into the roundtable discussions that informed the rankings.

The purpose of this roundtable series was to bring together a diverse set of permitting experts to evaluate different options for permitting, explore the nuances of policy options, discuss the effectiveness of different policies, and consider the potential political controversies each option might elicit. These discussions were intended to inform educational products and further discussions between stakeholders and policymakers in the energy permitting space.

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