Sens. Barrasso, Capito introduce bills to reform permitting and environmental review processes

Published on May 08, 2023 by Dave Kovaleski

© Shutterstock

U.S. Sens. John Barrasso (R-WY) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) introduced two bills seeking to reform the permitting and environmental review processes.

Barrasso, ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources (ENR) Committee, introduced the Spur Permitting of Underdeveloped Resources (SPUR) Act. This bill includes provisions to increase domestic energy and mineral development, ensure federal lands remain open to productive uses, and streamline permitting of energy infrastructure.

“We need to lower prices for American families and unleash American energy. The way to do that is to impose strict deadlines and stop endless litigation. We must also block the administration from hijacking the permitting process to kill worthy projects. Our current system stifles development and undermines American energy security. Americans still know how to build things. Today’s broken process won’t allow it. That must change,” Barrasso said.

The bill is cosponsored by Capito along with U.S. Sens. Jim Risch (R-ID), Mike Lee (R-UT), Steve Daines (R-MT), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), John Hoeven (R-ND), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), and Josh Hawley (R-MO).

Capito, ranking member of the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, introduced the Revitalizing the Economy by Simplifying Timelines and Assuring Regulatory Transparency (RESTART) Act. This legislation includes provisions to streamline the agency review process with enforceable timelines, implement time limits to prevent endless legal challenges, and modernize current laws while maintaining environmental protections.

“The current permitting and project review process slows the construction of roads and bridges, discourages domestic energy production, and minimizes investments made in our nation’s infrastructure, all of which has resulted in fewer jobs and higher prices for Americans,” Capito said. “The two bills Senator Barrasso and I are introducing fix this broken system with substantive changes that cut red tape, modernize and streamline the permitting process, and prevent endless delays that have plagued job-creating projects across the country. As the ranking members of the EPW and ENR committees, we’re introducing both of these bills to underscore the need to approach permitting reform the right way, which is through the proper committees of jurisdiction here in Congress.”

Capito said she is confident these bills can find bipartisan consensus and accomplish permitting reform, which she said would create jobs, boost energy production, lower prices for consumers, and make it easier to build.

The bill is cosponsored by Barrasso along with U.S. Sens. Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Pete Ricketts (R-NE), John Boozman (R-AR), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

Both of these bills have the support of the American Petroleum Institute (API).

“Modernizing our permitting process will speed up approvals, create American jobs, and enable the faster movement of energy where it is needed most. Thanks to new bills from Senators Barrasso and Capito, we are another step closer to bipartisan permitting reform, and we will continue to work with lawmakers to achieve durable reform for the benefit of all Americans,”
API President and CEO Mike Sommers said.