Federal Permitting Reform would benefit Alabama’s economy

Published 4:22 pm Thursday, July 27, 2023

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State Representative Russell Bedsole | Guest Columnist

Cutting through government bureaucracy is one of the most effective ways we can help spur growth in Alabama’s economy and continue to move key energy infrastructure projects forward, create jobs and secure a more prosperous future for all Alabamans. There is no better example of a government system in need of repair and reform than our overly complex, uneconomical federal permitting process.

The current federal permitting process creates massive delays that prevent the actual construction of critical energy and infrastructure projects, while also driving up costs, undermining financial viability and increasing risks for investors. Environmental reviews on their own can take several years (or sometimes more than a decade or more) to complete, making it more challenging for entrepreneurs, businesses and investors to advance critical projects. And these are projects that could help improve the quality of life in Alabama communities and throughout the country.

Congress must work to pass smart, bipartisan permitting reform this year. Doing so would help streamline and increase the efficiency of our government while helping to create and support good-paying jobs for hardworking Alabamans, including our veterans. Commonsense reform of the federal permitting process will also help provide more regulatory certainty for local businesses and industries, enabling us to expedite key energy infrastructure projects across the state.

While there has been some incremental progress to reform the permitting process in recent months, there is still more work to be done. Without comprehensive federal permitting reform, Alabama’s economy will continue to be held back and projects that could otherwise provide myriad economic, environmental and quality-of-life benefits will remain stuck in a regulatory quagmire. Given the Republican Party’s long-held support for this issue, I encourage Senator Katie Boyd Britt and our congressional delegation to lead the way in Washington and work to ensure Congress passes federal permitting reform as swiftly as possible.

Russell Bedsole serves in the Alabama State Legislature representing Shelby County