We’re Still Waiting on the Democrats’ Long-Promised Permitting Reform Legislation

We’re Still Waiting on the Democrats’ Long-Promised Permitting Reform Legislation

September 20, 2022

It’s been over six weeks since the Democrats in the Senate struck a bargain to pass their massive, wasteful spending legislation. A key tenant of the deal struck between Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Joe Manchin was passing permitting reform by the end of September. The only problem is no one has seen the legislation. That might be an indicator that it’s not strong enough. 

The Wall Street Journal editorial board writes, “Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer plans to attach the permitting reform to a government-funding vehicle called a continuing resolution that needs to pass by the end of this month. Mr. Manchin said last week that the text of his deal probably will be ‘released in the CR,’ according to the Hill. It sounds as if the strategy is to prevent anyone from pondering the details too long. The permitting changes might be unveiled at the last minute, as pressure to avoid a government shutdown peaks.” 

West Virginia’s other Senator, Shelley Moore Capito – a Republican – has introduced her own legislation that would get projects moving, prevent excessive lawsuits from environmental activists, and specifically finish the Mountain Valley Pipeline – a major natural gas pipeline that runs through Appalachia. Her bill is ready to go. The Democrats’ bill is still nowhere to be found. 

The Journal continues, “Mr. Manchin is in a pickle, since he promised permitting reform and then promptly gave up his leverage by voting for Mr. Schumer’s bloated climate subsidy bill. Sooner or later he has to release the results of his negotiation. But the more the clock ticks, the more curious the delay becomes. With so many Democrats opposed, Mr. Manchin will need Republicans to pass his bill. But Republicans should make sure its details are worth the political advertising, and worth lending it their credibility.” 

Democrats claim it’s coming soon but we’re still waiting. If Congress is going to pass permitting reform – it better be real solutions and not empty words.