WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a letter sent to Congressional leaders today, nearly 350 organizations representing virtually every sector of the U.S. economy and every corner of the country called on Congress to “Permit America to Build” by passing meaningful, durable permitting reform before the end of summer.
This effort, organized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, brings together over 200 state and local chambers as well as leading business, policy and labor organizations. The coalition signals the unified support for reforming America’s outdated permitting process in which federal permits take an average of 4.5-7.5 years to be approved depending on the project.
"Our permitting system is fundamentally broken, and it is delaying the investments that we desperately need in energy, transportation, broadband, technology and countless other sectors," said Neil Bradley, Chief Policy Officer at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. "It should never take longer to get a permit than it does to build a project, and it is long past time for Congress to act. Over the last several years, both parties have put forward constructive proposals. Our ‘Permit America to Build’ campaign is focused on ensuring that we turn those proposals into enacted, meaningful reform."
"Americans for years have been calling for more investment in infrastructure across the country. Now that Congress has passed significant federal funding for infrastructure, we have discovered that outdated federal permitting processes are preventing these projects from getting started," said Mary Beth Sewald, President and CEO of the Vegas Chamber. "This harms economic growth, job creation, and public safety. The Vegas Chamber joins the U.S. Chamber in calling for federal permitting reform to be enacted by Congress quickly and with an eye to the future."
“There is broad bipartisan support to modernize our nation’s energy infrastructure. Some are compelled by the urgency to strengthen grid reliability and reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources. Others focus on the economic benefits of job creation and lower energy costs. And all must appreciate the herculean task of decarbonizing our energy systems to avoid the worst effects of climate change,” said Jason Grumet, CEO of the American Clean Power Association. “We have the capital. We have the technology, and we are eager to grow the workforce. What we don’t have is the luxury of time. Congress must come together and dramatically improve our process for permitting and siting new infrastructure. The future can’t wait.”
"At a time when there is a historic infusion of private and public dollars going to connecting all Americans, removing costly barriers is critical to deployment. Whether it's crossing the railroad or attaching to the poles, permitting is one of the underlying issues in every roadblock," said INCOMPAS CEO Chip Pickering. "Our member companies are working hard to build out future-proof networks to bridge the digital divide, but they need rules that ensure permitting requirements are fair, transparent, and predictable. INCOMPAS wholeheartedly supports Congress moving forward on permitting reform, and we are dedicated to working with policymakers to guarantee our members have the ability to deploy their networks effectively and efficiently."
"America’s ports, which support 31 million jobs and 26 percent of the nation’s economy, want to put Congress’ landmark investments to work upgrading their critical infrastructure as quickly as possible, but outdated permitting systems often slow down or even stymie their efforts," said Chris Connor, President and CEO of the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA). "AAPA respectfully asks lawmakers to help America's ports by thoughtfully reforming permitting rules to make reviews more efficient without sacrificing environmental protection. All Americans will benefit from modern port infrastructure that makes use of the latest technologies, but we need shovels in the ground on new projects to create jobs and move cargo more efficiently."
"Streamlining the permitting process for infrastructure projects is essential if we are to realize the full benefits of the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law," said Tom Smith, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Executive Director. "ASCE has long advocated for strategic revisions to permitting processes, making it a key recommendation in the 2021 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, while ensuring appropriate environmental safeguards and protections are in place."
While these diverse organizations may have differing perspectives on how Congress should address the permitting challenge, there is consensus that a modernized permitting process requires:
- Predictability: Project developers and financers must have an appropriate level of certainty regarding the scope and timeline for project reviews, including any related judicial review.
- Efficiency: Interagency coordination must be improved to optimize public and private resources while driving better environmental and community outcomes.
- Transparency: Project sponsors and the public must have visibility into the project permitting milestones and schedule through an easily accessible public means.
- Stakeholder Input: All relevant stakeholders must be adequately informed and have the opportunity to provide input within a reasonable and consistent timeframe.
The full letter is available here.