Bill introduced in House that would streamline hydrogen permitting process

Published on June 22, 2022 by Dave Kovaleski

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U.S. Reps. Dan Newhouse (R-WA), Debbie Lesko (R-AZ), and Ted Budd (R-NC) introduced a bill designed to streamline the hydrogen permitting process for federal hydrogen programs if the programs utilize zero-carbon emission sources.

The Hydrogen Permitting Simplification Act (H.R. 8117) seeks to amend the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to exempt federal hydrogen programs from the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 if the programs utilize power sources that produce zero-carbon emissions, such as nuclear, hydro, solar, wind, or geothermal power.

“Central Washington is blessed to have the resources to pursue an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy. And hydrogen, while new to the mix, is already playing an integral role in helping supplement our energy industry while reducing our carbon emissions,” Newhouse said. “Amidst soaring energy costs, ensuring we utilize all of the resources available to us is imperative. I am a strong supporter of hydrogen energy technologies and am proud to introduce this legislation which will remove regulatory roadblocks and help us deploy these technologies more efficiently, more affordably, and more responsibly than ever before.”

There are currently several hydrogen energy research projects underway in Central Washington. Among them, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is conducting extensive research into utilizing hydrogen technologies. AeroTEC’s site in Moses Lake is working on the first commercially relevant, hydrogen-powered aircraft.

In addition, Douglas County Public Utility championed the Wells Hydroelectric Project on the Columbia River, which is now the model for providing clean, efficient, reliable, and renewable hydroelectric power. Further, Ballard Power Systems in Quincy is collaborating with Microsoft and Caterpillar to research and test hydrogen fuel cell technologies as a power source for data centers.

“Companies that produce hydrogen from zero-carbon emission sources currently face burdensome, costly, and lengthy environmental regulations even though they have no effect on the environment,” Lesko said. “I am proud to introduce this legislation to remove these regulatory barriers that hinder American companies from leading on hydrogen production.”