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Opinion | To maximize energy investments, Congress must pass permitting reform

There is still plenty of room for lawmakers to pass more commonsense reforms.

The Capitol in Washington, D.C. STOCK

Advancing Alabama’s clean energy capabilities and related technologies will help future-ready jobs and power a stronger economy. While we are making good progress to build out these capabilities, there are still issues hindering renewable energy production that must be addressed in order to maximize the energy investments that Congress passed as part of the bipartisan infrastructure law. These include supply chain issues, inflation, and, most importantly, a broken permitting process.

Earlier this month, Governor Kay Ivey awarded $1.2 million in grants to build 14 new electric vehicle charging stations at five locations throughout the state. Additionally, Alabama has now filed its EV charging station plan with the federal government, which will help further expand the infrastructure we need in place to support our transition to cleaner, more sustainable forms of transportation. Since filing that plan, a coalition of seven automakers, three of which maintain a presence in Alabama, have announced plans to install at least another 30,000 EV fast chargers across North America.

These efforts and investments are critical to growing our clean energy economy and workforce, powering job creation, and improving communities throughout the state. However, for Alabama to unlock the full potential of existing energy laws and new investments in our energy infrastructure, Congress still needs to pass broader, bipartisan permitting reform. 

Lawmakers made incremental progress to reform the environmental review process as part of the recent debt ceiling deal; however, there is still plenty of room for lawmakers to pass more commonsense reforms that streamline and simplify the entire federal permitting process. I am grateful for the leadership that the Alabama congressional delegation has provided on this issue as they continue to work to pass comprehensive permitting reform that will help us move critical energy infrastructure projects forward in a timelier, more efficient manner.

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