Oil and natural gas industry praises infrastructure proposal, permitting streamlining

Published on February 14, 2018 by Kevin Randolph

© Shutterstock

Oil and natural gas industry groups reacted recently to President Donald Trump’s proposed infrastructure plan, emphasizing the suggested streamlining of permitting processes and the importance of energy infrastructure.

The plan would provide $200 billion in federal funds and is designed to stimulate additional investments from state, local and tribal governments as well as the private sector for a total of approximately $1.5 trillion.

As part of the plan, Trump proposed changes designed to remove regulatory barriers and streamline permitting processes related to infrastructure projects.

“Despite the clear need for new natural gas pipelines, the permitting process has become more protracted and challenging,” Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA) President and CEO Don Santa said. “Roadblocks and delays are becoming commonplace at federal and state permitting agencies. The permitting principles developed by the White House recognize many of the challenges with the permitting process and suggest reforms that could facilitate the more responsible and orderly development of infrastructure. We hope this is the first step toward more comprehensive permitting reform.”

As part of his streamlining efforts, Trump included in the proposal a “one-agency, one decision rule” for environmental reviews, a two-year limit for environmental review decisions and various other changes related to federal and state policies. In her statement, Santa highlighted the White House’s call for clarity regarding state permitting authorities and the Clean Water Act Section 401 certification process.

“Further, efforts announced today to promote certainty in the permitting process that is driven by sound science are critical to ensuring that Americans can continue to benefit from increased production and use of the energy they demand every day,” American Petroleum Institute (API) President and CEO Jack Gerard said. “As the infrastructure conversation advances, we look forward to our continued work with the administration and Congress on efforts that will allow communities across the country to fully benefit from American energy.”