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February 27, 2018

ICYMI: House Energy & Commerce Committee Examines “State of the Nation’s Energy Infrastructure”

Today, the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing to examine the “State of the Nation’s Energy Infrastructure.” This hearing comes just weeks after the Trump administration’s unveiling of its national infrastructure package. Investing in our infrastructure is an issue that enjoys broad support on both sides of the aisle as a way to create jobs, stimulate the economy and complete much needed updates for our crumbling roads and bridges. But due to heavy regulations and lengthy processing timelines, large infrastructure projects in the U.S. face average construction delays lasting upwards of 6 to 10 years. The United States Congress is taking a closer look into these issues and today’s hearing showed widespread, bipartisan support for regulatory reform as a vital means to transforming the nation’s energy infrastructure.

Key excerpts from hearing:

From Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR)

(in summary)

  • Though most of the nation’s energy infrastructure is privately owned and operated, regulatory reform can encourage greater public-private partnerships to the overall benefit of the country.

From Jim Ross, Director, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Construction and Maintenance Department

  • “We need to empower federal authorities to approve large-scale projects of national importance that cross state lines and local government jurisdictions. With all due respect to local authorities, we need a new approach that trims unnecessary red tape and streamlines the rules created by numerous regulatory authorities.”
  • “It is also important to support legislation that would streamline permitting and siting processes. There are plenty of energy infrastructure projects across the U.S. that have been involved in permitting processes for years.”
  • “We are encouraged by recent ‘one-agency, one-decision’ proposals which will reduce the timeline for federal environmental reviews and permitting processes. We do not support efforts to diminish current environmental protections; we simply need an efficient process.”
  • “Approximately $140 billion in private capital is awaiting permit approvals for aging transmission system overhauls and development of new clean lines to move more renewable sources to market.”

From John Devine, Senior Vice President, HDR Inc.

  • “Both the existing system and new hydropower infrastructure projects have a critical role to play in meeting our nation’s future energy, environment, and economic development objectives. As Congress works to address our energy and infrastructure needs, including a national infrastructure package, policies that support the hydropower system must be included.”
  • “The benefits of hydropower are under direct threat by a series of policy decisions (both at the federal and state levels) that undervalue and handicap our hydropower resources. These include: an outdated, complex regulatory process; tax policy that picks winners and losers; and the need for reinvestment in the federal hydropower system.”