Ask any manufacturer – at any point in the supply chain – what their most pressing challenges are, and there is a high chance that permitting delays will be at the top of their lists.
As noted in the American Shale and Manufacturing Partnership (ASMP) Report released earlier this year, industry has to negotiate an often tricky patchwork of state and federal regulations to get any project off the ground. At best, the permitting process is confusing. At worst, it can significantly delay projects, increase uncertainty and hamper U.S. productivity.
When it comes to permitting delays, time costs money. As this U.S. Chamber of Commerce-backed report shows that in 2010 alone, 351 stalled energy projects cost the U.S. economy $1.1 trillion and 1.9 million jobs annually. According to the ASMP report, a three-month permitting process in some states has been drawn out to three years due to permitting delays. In Arizona, a copper mine project is still waiting for a permit seven years after buying the equipment.
As a result of these delays, permitting has become a major headache for manufacturers, and reform is needed. A welcome development is the recent introduction of a bipartisan permitting reform bill sponsored by Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO).
If passed, the bill would streamline environmental permitting processes by, among others, eliminating eleventh-hour challenges to permit applications, avoid duplication of states’ environmental review work at the Federal level, and provide for concurrent rather than serial reviews by agencies.
To hear Congress conducting a review of the permitting process is music to manufacturers’ ears.