On May 19, 2023, National Governors Association (NGA) Vice Chair Utah Governor Spencer Cox and Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards took action to accelerate the process of delivering crucial environmental restoration and infrastructure renewal all across America.
They released the following statement as Co-Chairs of the Energy and Infrastructure Working Group:
Governors are working together across party lines and state lines on common sense solutions to safely speed up the process to deliver energy and infrastructure benefits nationwide, and we stand ready to support congressional efforts to do the same at the federal level.
Our national vision for permitting reform for an all-of-the-above energy and infrastructure approach (wind, solar, hydropower, nuclear, oil, natural gas, coastal restoration, electric transmission, coal, pipelines, transportation and water infrastructure, forest projects, broadband, and critical minerals) calls on Congress and the Administration to:
Improve the NEPA process while protecting the integrity of reviews:
- Improve and expand the Lead Agency/One Federal Decision framework process to increase coordination between federal agencies and reduce duplication.
- Improve timeliness and certainty of permitting process with deadlines for both project sponsors and reviewers. A two-year deadline for federal decisions should have meaningful federal agency penalties to discourage delays.
- Improve all manner of permitting, including wind, solar, hydropower, nuclear, oil, natural gas, coastal restoration, coal, electric transmission, pipelines, transportation and water infrastructure, forest projects, broadband, and critical minerals.
Prioritize states and territories permitting efforts:
- Improve processes and opportunities for states and territories to acquire primacy or assignment in permitting efforts.
- Incentivize states and territories to grow capacity and improve their own permitting processes and assist local communities.
- Support state and territorial efforts to innovate with new permitting processes and integrating technologies.
- Allow flexibility in existing federal programs for states and territories to hire staff and contractors and support match requirements.
- Coordinate and cooperate with states and territories on water and transmission permits.
- Allow for revenue sharing in project outcomes.
Preserve environmental safeguards and community engagement:
- Updates to federal regulations and processes should ensure the continued consideration of environmental and economic impacts.
- Provide states and territories, and their citizens, an opportunity to learn about and be involved in each of those environmental reviews.
- Provide clear and durable standards for public comment processes, tribal and community engagement, and historic preservation reviews.
- Encourage project sponsors to begin engagement prior to application.
- Clarify which projects require which level of review and when certain exemptions can and cannot be used.
The National Governors Association’s Energy and Infrastructure Working Group is focused on solutions to streamline the permitting process, address legal challenges and tackle procurement issues to speed delivery for projects across four categories:
- energy transmission (pipeline and electric transmission lines);
- utility-scale energy generation (including oil and gas, coal, renewables and nuclear);
- transportation; and
- mining and materials.
The following Governors are participating in the Governors Energy and Infrastructure Working Group on behalf of all 55 states and territories:
- Utah Governor NGA Vice Chair Spencer Cox (Working Group co-chair);
- Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards (Working Group co-chair);
- Illinois Governor JB Pritzker;
- Maine Governor Janet Mills;
- Montana Governor Greg Gianforte;
- New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu;
- North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum;
- Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt; and
- Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi.