Policy and Legal

Policy and Legal

Timmons to Congress: Permitting Reform Urgently Needed

NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons has been making the most of his time on the road during the Competing to Win Tour, delivering a strong message to congressional leaders about top manufacturing priorities. He did so again yesterday on permitting reform with congressional leaders in Washington:

  • “Some of the biggest obstacles preventing manufacturers—and therefore the entire American economy—from reaching our full potential are the permitting delays, red tape and complicated bureaucracy that have plagued us for decades,” he told the leadership of several House committees.

He went on to cite a number of different areas in which permitting reform is desperately needed, including . . .

Energy: Permitting reform is crucial to almost every sector of energy manufacturing, from oil and gas all the way to nuclear and clean energy technologies.

  • “For example,” Timmons noted, “the siting of and infrastructure for hydrogen power generation and transportation and for advanced, small modular and micro-nuclear reactors have progressed far too slowly.”
  • “Manufacturers depend on access to reliable and affordable energy to expand, which is why we support reforms that would foster transparent, streamlined and timely federal regulatory processes for the siting, permitting and licensing of energy delivery infrastructure of all types,” he continued.

Transportation: Manufacturers also need railroads, highways, airports and ports to run their operations and get their products out the door.

  • “Yet obtaining permit approvals for these projects often takes years, especially when reviews are piecemeal and duplicative,” Timmons pointed out. “[M]any companies are waiting on the sidelines because transportation infrastructure construction moves too slowly—or not at all.”
  • “To ensure the broad and beneficial impact of [the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021] … it is critical to clear permit backlogs and ease processing timelines,” he said.

Resource development: Manufacturers prioritize sustainability, Timmons noted, but “restricting access to America’s abundant natural resources hinders our ability to strengthen domestic supply chains.”

  • “The inconsistent administration of critical mineral policies, for example, has limited our ability to use a wide range of resources that lie on and beneath federal lands—resources that are critical to producing everything from cars to medical devices,” he added.
  • “Streamlining resource permitting and leasing policies will help stabilize manufacturing supply chains, control costs for consumers, reduce our reliance on foreign countries and create jobs in the U.S.”

Environmental standards: Manufacturers have worked steadily to improve U.S. air quality, helping to “lead our country to the cleanest air in the modern world,” said Timmons.

  • “Unfortunately, when federal agencies continually revise standards before current standards are met and before states have implemented prior mandates, they create unpredictability”—which may mean that new manufacturing facilities get built in other countries instead, where they don’t face as rigorous standards.
  • However, if Congress makes regulations more predictable and consolidates review processes, the U.S. “can continue to build on its strong record of environmental stewardship by boosting domestic manufacturing, which is environmentally cleaner than international competitors,” Timmons concluded.

Congressional intent: Congress should make sure that permitting reform isn’t just passed, but also implemented as easily as possible, Timmons advocated.

  • It should conform to “on recent and future statutory streamlining efforts such as One Federal Decision,” while making sure federal agencies don’t duplicate each other’s efforts and waste time.

The last word: “Permitting affects every aspect of our lives—from our economic security to our national security,” said Timmons. “[I]f we seize this opportunity to lead, there is no limit to what manufacturers in the United States can accomplish—for the good of our people and for the good of the world.”

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