API Calls on Biden Administration to Revise NEPA Guidance, Act on Permitting Reform
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WASHINGTON, January 23, 2023 – The American Petroleum Institute (API) today called on the Biden administration to take action to fix the broken permitting process that is stymying U.S. energy development. In a letter to White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) Chair Brenda Mallory, API Vice President of Corporate Policy Aaron Padilla argued that CEQ’s recent National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Guidance on Consideration of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Climate Change could harm the development of critical energy projects – from oil and natural gas to renewables – and urged the administration to instead work with stakeholders and bipartisan lawmakers in support of durable NEPA permitting reform.
“API shares the administration’s goal of reducing GHG emissions throughout the economy while meeting the needs of U.S. consumers and our allies abroad with affordable, reliable and cleaner energy. But in order to fulfill these goals, we need a consistent, timely and predictable framework for approving critical energy infrastructure. CEQ’s policy guidance undermines the certainty that project developers need to make significant capital investment in energy and underscores the need for statutory permitting reform,” Padilla said.
In the letter, API outlines the many harmful provisions of CEQ’s guidance, including the duplication and disregard of other agencies’ NEPA reviews and GHG regulations, which could result in significant delays in agency processing time and compromise the U.S. energy supply and the deployment of lower carbon solutions.
“The delays this Guidance will likely lengthen are for the very projects our nation and our allies need: natural gas and oil on federal lands and in federal waters, interstate natural gas pipelines and natural gas and oil pipelines that cross federal lands, LNG terminals, carbon capture, utilization, and storage facilities, and hydrogen facilities. Delays in permitting these much-needed projects would compromise the supply of affordable, reliable energy that US and global consumers use every day,” said Padilla.
Under the current NEPA process, the average environmental impact statement takes four and a half years to complete, and 25% of completed impact statements took more than six years. Recent studies have shown that $157 billion in energy investment is waiting in the NEPA pipeline, and a two-year NEPA review time limit could spur $67 billion in energy investment.
“Fixing the NEPA permitting process is a priority for API: to establish agency uniformity in reviews, limit review timelines, and reduce the burdens placed on project proponents. This unsound CEQ Guidance is further evidence that the NEPA process remains unnecessarily complex, unreasonably time-consuming, and significantly uncertain, which in turn impedes investment in the nation’s energy resources and infrastructure,” Padilla concluded.
API recently held its annual State of American Energy event, during which members of Congress from both sides of the aisle voiced support for durable permitting reform that will unleash energy development and allow for the U.S. natural gas and oil industry to meet the energy needs of U.S. consumers and our allies abroad. Click here to view the State of American Energy report.
Click here to view the full letter.
API represents all segments of America’s natural gas and oil industry, which supports more than 11 million U.S. jobs and is backed by a growing grassroots movement of millions of Americans. Our approximately 600 members produce, process and distribute the majority of the nation’s energy, and participate in API Energy Excellence®, which is accelerating environmental and safety progress by fostering new technologies and transparent reporting. API was formed in 1919 as a standards-setting organization and has developed more than 800 standards to enhance operational and environmental safety, efficiency and sustainability.