Lankford, Inhofe Join Bill to Provide Certainty for Permit Program for Oklahoma InfrastructureWed, 05 Aug 2020 11:48:44 CDT
Senators James Lankford (R-OK) and Jim Inhofe (R-OK) joined Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) to introduce a bill to allow critical infrastructure project proponents to continue relying on the nationwide permit (NWP) program in light of recent court decisions. Along with Lankford and Inhofe, cosponsors on the bill include Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX), John Barrasso (R-WY), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), John Hoeven (R-ND), Steve Daines (R-MT), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).
"Oklahoma families depend on the development of critical infrastructure to keep our economy moving forward," said Lankford. "Too frequently, the regulatory process is used as a tool to stop development rather than to ensure projects are done in an environmentally responsible manner. The American people are the ones who suffer when responsible infrastructure projects are delayed or denied. I'm proud to cosponsor Senator Cornyn's legislation, which will provide predictability for projects covered by the Army Corps of Engineers' nationwide permit program while any legal challenges to this critical program are resolved. Infrastructure projects are simply too important for us to ignore the legal uncertainty and endless red tape."
"The United States leads the world in oil and gas production and we're on track to be a net energy exporter," Inhofe said. "While liberal activists are attempting to hijack the federal permitting process, we have the opportunity to allow for investment in our nation's infrastructure and, once we are on the other side of this pandemic, our energy producers here at home will be able to meet the increased demand. I am proud to join Senator Cornyn's bill and continue advocating for the Oklahoma energy industry."
Specifically, this bill would clarify that the US Army Corps of Engineers' (USACE) current NWP process and procedures satisfy the Endangered Species Act (ESA) Section 7 consultation requirements. It amends Section 404(e) of the Clean Water Act (CWA) to authorize use of the NWP's through December 2026. The USACE and project proponents would be required to comply with all other existing requirements, and the USACE would be required to document a determination that each authorized activity would have no impact on listed species or designated habitat during this period. The bill does not add any new or alter existing NWP requirements. The bill would apply to all NWPs and industries.
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