Letter: Permitting reform needed in the federal government

“Businesses, labor agree on need for reform” (Reading Eagle, March 29), written by leaders of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry and the Pennsylvania State Building & Construction Trades Council, shared the potential for new development through permitting reform. It was an inspiring reminder of all that can be achieved when business and labor leaders come together. Alongside the critical reforms they want, we must consider modernizing the federal permitting process as well.

Energy projects wait an average of 4.5 years for federal review of their environmental impact statements. A recent study found at least 10 major energy infrastructure projects, worth more than $34 billion in private spending, were canceled or risked cancellation due to protracted and uncertain permitting processes.

In Appalachia alone, these pipeline projects could deliver 4.6 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas for families and businesses; support thousands of well-paying jobs; and inject $19 billion in private spending into local and regional economies. But instead, their benefits remain unrealized.

There is hope. The U.S. House has approved a permitting bill with bipartisan support. This could serve as a blueprint for enacting permitting modernization this year. We encourage Sens. Bob Casey and John Fetterman to support it.

In addition to help from Harrisburg, we need Congress and the president to work together to pass reforms that will benefit working men and women and the dedicated businesses that keep the power flowing and the lights on in our great nation.

Author: Stephanie Catarino Wissman
Publication: Reading Eagle
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