An agreement between President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to avoid a defaulting on the U.S. debt includes provisions aimed at streamlining permitting, although details remain hazy, multiple sources reported.
The New York Times reported that major energy projects would be granted a streamlined review process with a single lead agency charged with developing a single review document according to a public timeline.
The agreement would enact the changes without curtailing the overall scope of the current review process, cutting down the statute of limitations, imposing barriers to standing or taking away injunctive relief or other judicial remedies, according to the report.
The deal, which was still being negotiated in the early hours of May 28, also provides modest changes to the National Environmental Policy Act, a 1970 law that allows the federal government to analyze the environmental impacts of proposed projects, Yahoo Finance reported.
The White House on May 10 had called on Congress to pass permitting legislation that would help speed up clean energy and fossil fuel projects as the bipartisan effort gets pulled into a standoff on the debt ceiling.
Clean-energy incentives were apparently preserved. Citing a source familiar with the talks, NPR reported that the deal protects tens of billions of dollars for clean energy, rebates and clean-up efforts for harmful pollutants from oil and gas.
In remarks to the press on May 27, McCarthy said that, “after weeks of negotiations we have come to an agreement in principle. We still have a lot of work to do.”
McCarthy said the agreement would not include new taxes.
In a May 27 statement, Biden said the agreement “represents a compromise, which means not everyone gets what they want. That’s the responsibility of governing.”
“Over the next day, our negotiating teams will finalize legislative text and the agreement will go to the United States House and Senate. I strongly urge both chambers to pass the agreement right away,” Biden said.
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