New energy and infrastructure projects are critical to creating jobs, growing local economies and strengthening America’s national security. However, increasingly, our nation’s antiquated, inefficient federal permitting process is standing in the way of the progress these kinds of projects could help us achieve. That is why it is crucial for Congress to pass permitting reform this year.

When it comes to energy production, particularly in the booming clean energy sector, the United States and its allies have become overly reliant on adversarial nations like China to help meet our energy needs. Not only does this reliance increase national security risks, but it also continues to threaten our domestic manufacturing base and undermine efforts to secure a clean energy future—all while increasing energy costs for Alabama homes and businesses.

One surefire way to bring energy costs down, while bringing back manufacturing jobs and reasserting America’s role as a global energy leader, is by streamlining and simplifying our unnecessarily complex and oftentimes redundant permitting process. Cutting through the government red tape that currently slows down review, permitting, and approvals of new energy and infrastructure projects will help expedite critical energy and infrastructure endeavors, in turn spurring economic growth and strengthening our energy independence.

Without congressional action to reform the permitting process, the United States will continue to fall behind the rest of the world and will only grow more reliant on foreign sources of energy and related technologies. Passing commonsense permitting reform, on the other hand, will help keep projects on a realistic timeline and support continued growth and development that attracts new investments to Alabama and states across the country.

U.S. Sen. Katie Boyd Britt and the rest of Alabama’s congressional delegation should do everything in their power to ensure Congress passes permitting reform this year. 

Stan McDonald is a former probate judge for Limestone County. He has been active in Republican Party politics in Alabama for decades. He is also a member of the Alabama Ethics Commission.

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