Hill Letter to Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on FAST-41 Permit Streamlining

Monday, December 11, 2017 - 4:15pm

Dear Chairman Murkowski and Ranking Member Cantwell:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce applauds you for conducting a hearing to examine the permitting processes at Department of Interior (DOI) and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for energy and resource infrastructure projects.

The Chamber strongly supports the bipartisan federal permit streamlining provisions enacted in 2015 as Title 41 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (“FAST-41”). The Chamber recognizes and supports the importance of improving the permitting process for
energy and resource infrastructure projects and believes FAST-41 is the best existing framework to achieve that goal.

Attached is September 2017 Chamber testimony which outlines in detail how the FAST-41 framework can be modified and expanded to cover additional projects beyond the scope of the original legislation. We urge you to consider the recommendations we made in that
testimony, including the following:

  • Congress should amend FAST-41 to eliminate the seven-year sunset provision that was attached by the House of Representatives as the final bill was being negotiated informally between members of the House and Senate.
  • Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council (FPISC), and the Chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) should coordinate and encourage “high-priority” projects nominated under Executive Order 13766 to apply for FAST-41 consideration. Congress may also consider encouraging the steering council to accept projects likely to benefit from enhanced oversight and coordination as authorized under 42 USC § 4370m(6)(A).

We appreciate your attention to reducing the burden of permitting on energy and natural resource infrastructure development.