AFP Foundation sends letter urging House Committee to hold Biden Administration Bureaucrats Accountable for Energy Permitting Reform

By | May 17, 2024

US Capitol

By Thomas Kimbrell

May 17, 2024 | The House Committee on Natural Resources held an oversight hearing yesterday titled “Examining the Council on Environmental Quality Fiscal Year 2025 Budget Request and Related Policy Matters.”  CEQ Chairwoman Brenda Mallory testified before the full committee.

On May 1, CEQ issued a final rulemaking for the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Implementing Regulations Revisions Phase 2. The rulemaking was made purusant to amendments to the NEPA Congress passed last May as part of the Fiscal Responsibility Act. The amendments were meant to streamline energy permitting by shortening and simplifying the environmental review process. However, the new CEQ regulations appear to go beyond CEQ’s regulatory authority and further complicate the permitting process, potentially leading to adverse effects on energy and infrastructure projects.

AFP Foundation sent a letter to the House Committee on Natural Resources detailing how the new rule “flips NEPA’s procedural focus on its head by transforming it into a substantive, results-oriented mandate” furthering the Administration’s eco-agenda.

The NEPA established CEQ in the Executive Office of the President to offer agencies advice and guidance on complying with the NEPA’s procedural provisions. CEQ’s new rule, however, requires government agencies to include factors in their environmental reviews impacting climate change, environmental and social justice, and undefined terms like “indigenous knowledge.” CEQ also authorizes agencies to consider alternatives outside of their jurisdiction.

These new requirements for environmental reviews will most certainly not help to streamline the process as Congress intended. AFP Foundation’s letter states that these changes invite “arbitrary and capricious agency decisionmaking by directing agencies to consider factors Congress could not have intended for them to consider.”

Earlier this month, AFP Foundation filed FOIA requests with CEQ and several other agencies to bring transparency to the CEQ rulemaking.

Energy prices have increased significantly under the Bidenomics agenda. CEQ’s failure to faithfully implement statutory measures meant to expedite the development of energy-producing projects is a continuation of this Adminstration’s policies driving up energy costs for Americans.

Read the full letter to the committee.