Good morning Congressman Pallone, Ranking Member Walden, and members of the Committee. My name is Christopher Guith and I am the Acting President of the Global Energy Institute, an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (“the Chamber”). The mission of the Global Energy Institute is to unify policymakers, regulators, business leaders, and the American public behind a common-sense energy strategy to help keep America secure, prosperous, and clean. The Chamber appreciates the opportunity to testify today on the importance of bolstering the nation’s clean energy infrastructure.
America’s energy infrastructure provides a complex system of vital arteries making real-time deliveries of electricity, natural gas, and liquid fuels and products to every corner of the country to satisfy consumer demand. With more than 2.7 million miles of pipeline and 7 million miles of electric transmission and distribution lines, United States has the largest, most advanced, and most interconnected energy system in the world. With some limited exceptions, America’s energy infrastructure has been privately built and financed. It serves as an economic engine that literally fuels and powers the entire economy from coast to coast.
As the U.S. energy landscape continues to change, in some cases dramatically, the need to site, permit, and build new energy infrastructure predictably and transparently is increasingly important to capturing the economic and environmental benefits provided by American innovation. Unfortunately, the permitting process is neither predictable nor transparent, which discourages investment and often delays and in some cases prevents new energy infrastructure from being built. This in turn robs the U.S. economy of the economic benefits of these delayed or unbuilt resources as well as the environmental benefits they would accrue through emissions reductions. As Congress considers potential infrastructure legislation, it is imperative that permit streamlining be included as part of it.