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Permitting Reform

Electric cooperatives remain focused on working toward meaningful solutions to address reliability challenges spreading across the nation. This includes pressing for substantive action to reform the process for permitting and siting new electric generation and transmission infrastructure.

Where we stand

Congress must modernize the federal permitting process. The process for conducting federal environmental reviews must be updated to be more efficient, reduce costs, and give more certainty to electric co-ops as we build for the future.

Digging deeper

Firm time limits for environmental reviews

Currently, the National Environmental Policy Act permitting process takes too long. In order for co-ops to maintain reliable and affordable energy and build the infrastructure we need for the future, the process must be efficient and predictably completed within two years. That should be enough time to conduct a rigorous review, while providing project certainty.

Greater applicant involvement in the process

Electric co-ops are owned by the communities they serve. Co-ops know the specific details of their projects and the unique needs and challenges facing their communities. Greater involvement by those proposing the infrastructure projects will provide agencies with the information they need to facilitate more efficient and effective reviews in a timely manner.

More efficient reviews for recurring small projects

Electric co-ops should not have to navigate a lengthy, bureaucratic process when both co-ops and the agency already know the benefits are high and the impacts are low. As an example, electric co-ops spend significant time managing the vegetation that grows around power lines to maintain reliability and prevent wildfires. Those vegetation management efforts regularly take place across the country.

Limit costly and lengthy litigation

The permitting system has been distorted to the extent that a special interest group can effectively kill a project that a local community supports by holding it up in court. Litigation is driving excessive paperwork and unnecessary delays—holding up projects that are badly needed by communities and will help support the changing energy landscape.

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