Press Releases

What They Are Saying: Industry Leaders Offer Support for Clean Water Act Permitting Reforms in H.R. 7023

Washington, D.C., March 19, 2024 | Justin Harclerode (202) 225-9446
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This week, the House of Representatives will consider the Creating Confidence in Clean Water Permitting Act (H.R. 7023), introduced by Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee Chairman David Rouzer (R-NC), to reform and restore permitting processes under the Clean Water Act needed for energy and infrastructure project approvals.

H.R. 7023 was approved by the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on January 31, 2024, and consists of five separate bills initially introduced in the House by Subcommittee Chairman Rouzer, Rep. Pete Stauber (R-MN), Rep. Burgess Owens (R-UT), Rep. Eric Burlison (R-MO), and Rep. John Duarte (R-CA).  

Numerous industry leaders and stakeholders have applauded the commonsense permitting reforms included in the legislation and provided the following statements of support for H.R. 7023 and its component provisions.

Waters Advocacy Coalition (WAC), including American Exploration & Mining Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Gas Association, American Road & Transportation Builders Association, American Society of Golf Course Architects, Associated Builders and Contractors, Associated General Contractors of America, Essential Minerals Association, Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, Independent Petroleum Association of America, Leading Builders of America, Liquid Energy Pipeline Association, National Association of Home Builders, National Association of Realtors, National Cotton Council, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, National Mining Association, National Pork Producers Council, National Rural Electric Cooperatives Association, National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association, Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment, Southeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association, The Fertilizer Institute, USA Rice, US Chamber of Commerce“These bills provide practical fixes to certain sections of the Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 402 National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program, Section 404 dredge and fill permit program, and Section 304(a) process for establishing water quality criteria.  These targeted reforms represent significant steps toward streamlining regulatory procedures, providing greater certainty for businesses in our sectors, and helping meet our nation’s ambitious climate and infrastructure priorities….  They support both environmental protection and the need for a more streamlined, predictable regulatory framework.” (read the full letter)

American Gas Association, American Petroleum Institute, Associated General Contractors of America, Essential Minerals Association, Independent Petroleum Association of America, Liquid Energy Pipeline Association, National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association, The Fertilizer Institute, U.S. Chamber of Commerce: “Building smart, modern, resilient infrastructure through innovation and responsible development is a top priority for the business community. Linear infrastructure from pipelines and transmission lines to other critical infrastructure plays an essential role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and providing energy security for the United States and our allies. Thousands of miles of hydrogen and CO2 pipelines will be needed to meet ambitious climate goals. This legislation will also help expedite the delivery of clean water for communities and broadband needed to support small business innovation. Ensuring a strong, stable, and predictable nationwide permitting program is critical for the United States to sustainably grow and prosper.”  (read the full letter)

Interstate Natural Gas Association of America, American Gas Association, Independent Petroleum Association of America, American Petroleum Institute, Natural Gas Supply Association: “Natural gas infrastructure is reliable, built in compliance with exacting safety regulations and engineering standards. The North American Electric Reliability Corporation indicated in a summer assessment that ‘natural gas supply and infrastructure is vitally important to electric grid reliability…’  The Natural Gas Council and the companies we represent urge Congress to work in a bipartisan manner to enact these measures, which would promote certainty and predictability in the NWP process and enable development of the energy infrastructure necessary to continue delivering the benefits of natural gas to the American people.”  (read the full letter)

Associated Builders and Contractors Vice President, Legislative & Political Affairs Kristen Swearingen: “Creating a coordinated, predictable and transparent process to streamline permitting will enable the industry to plan and execute even the most complex projects while safeguarding our communities, maintaining a healthy environment and being good stewards of public funds.”  (read the full letter)

Associated General Contractors of America Vice President of Government Relations Jimmy Christianson: “AGC supports the Creating Confidence in Clean Water Permitting Act because it would provide greater certainty for construction companies engaged in projects held up by the Clean Water Act permitting process.  It would accelerate an all-too-slow review process and mitigate against frivolous lawsuits that often follow permitting decisions.  This bill would help ensure more timely delivery of infrastructure projects that benefit the nation’s communities yet still protect the environment.”

American Petroleum Institute Executive Vice President & Chief Advocacy Officer Amanda E. Eversole: “Too often, projects are delayed or cancelled because of our nation's unpredictable, uncertain permitting process. The delays and denials of permits due to lengthy regulatory reviews and drawn-out judicial proceedings have stifled needed investment and increased costs. Permitting reform not only supports our industry's ability to increase oil and natural gas production safely and effectively but would also help renewable and other infrastructure projects move forward instead of languishing in a regulatory maze.”  (read the full letter)

American Pipeline Contractors Association President Roy Weaver: “Under our current outdated and burdensome regulatory structure, many critical energy projects take years to clear the permitting process – if they do at all.  Many projects that would have clearly benefited American citizens, the American economy, and the American environment are consistently delayed or blocked by outdated and oft-weaponized interpretations of NEPA and the Clean Water Act.  If we are to reach the ambitious energy and climate goals set by the Administration and Congress, pipeline infrastructure must play a strong role – a role it cannot play if permitting issues stand in the way.  By clarifying, streamlining, and modernizing these outdated procedures, this package of legislation will help our members build the energy infrastructure that fuels America.  APCA urges swift passage of this legislation to advance and improve American energy and construction policy.”

American Road & Transportation Builders Association Vice President and Counsel for Regulatory Affairs Prianka Sharma: “Vague permitting policies should not stand in the way of safe and reliable transportation infrastructure.  That’s why ARTBA supports H.R. 7023’s practical measures to make Clean Water Act permits more efficient, provide stability and certainty for permit holders, and cut down on unnecessary administrative costs.  Approval of permits does not need to come at the expense of environmental stewardship and infrastructure improvements.  H.R. 7023’s commonsense reforms will ensure timely delivery of transportation infrastructure solutions and their economic benefits, particularly as the transportation construction sector deploys unprecedented federal-aid funding from the IIJA.”

Edison Electric Institute President and CEO Dan Brouillette: “EEI and our member electric companies support efforts that will lead to an efficient, environmentally sound, and defensible process for energy infrastructure and energy technology deployment.  The Creating Confidence in Clean Water Permitting Act makes meaningful progress in improving existing environmental processes that will help EEI members maximize their investments to bolster the domestic economy and support family-sustaining jobs.  We look forward to this bill’s passage in the House and will continue working with Congress on energy permitting efficiencies.”

Liquid Energy Pipeline Association President and CEO Andrew J. Black: “H.R. 7023 will ensure energy and carbon dioxide pipelines are not singled out for unfair treatment even as they meet the statutory minimal impacts requirement.  Recent litigation and regulatory reviews have sought to slow down or stop use of the NWP program for pipeline infrastructure.  Slowing down or stopping pipeline projects that provide affordable, reliable, and abundant energy is unfair to the American public and contrary to the original intent of the law.”  (read the full letter)

National Asphalt Pavement Association Vice President, Government Affairs Nile Elam: “The National Asphalt Pavement Association thanks Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Graves and Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee Chairman Rouzer for their leadership on H.R. 7023 – the Creating Confidence in Clean Water Permitting Act – successfully reported out of committee and to be debated on the House floor this week.  This bill helps streamline Clean Water Act permitting for the key raw material inputs needed for asphalt production, as well as implementing critical public works projects authorized in bipartisan bills like the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act on time and on budget.  Eliminating duplicative regulatory red tape while maintaining the highest environmental standards are not mutually exclusive, and H.R. 7023 achieves this balance.  NAPA supports this bill’s progress to the Senate and is eager to work with all relevant stakeholders.”

National Association of Homebuilders Chairman Carl Harris: The Creating Confidence in Clean Water Permitting Act would help to ease the nation’s housing affordability crisis by reforming and expediting the federal permitting process.  Among the headwinds limiting the ability of home builders to provide badly needed, attainable, affordable housing is an unpredictable permitting system that hamstrings housing production.  This legislation respects environmental safeguards and makes significant strides in ensuring clarity in the regulatory process.  We urge the House to move quickly to pass this bill.”

National Mining Association President and CEO Rich Nolan: “During this time of heightened geopolitical and economic uncertainty, we must ensure that America has abundant and affordable energy and the raw materials needed to support U.S. manufacturing, national security, and economic prosperity while protecting our environment and communities.  One way to do that is by streamlining the CWA permitting process.  The private sector needs fair, consistent, and predictable CWA permitting processes to support our national priorities and remain competitive in the global economy.  But for too long, regulatory uncertainty in the CWA permitting process has delayed projects, chilled investment in U.S. mining operations, and inhibited the ability to mine the raw materials on which our nation depends.  These targeted legislative reforms are a welcome step toward streamlining and clarifying the CWA permitting process.”  (read the full letter)

National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association President & CEO Michael W. Johnson: “These legislative initiatives collectively address key concerns of our industry, ensuring that essential projects are not hindered by bureaucratic delays or uncertainties. They strike a balance between environmental protection and the need for a more streamlined, predictable regulatory framework.  The NSSGA is committed to responsible environmental stewardship and understands the importance of effective and efficient regulatory processes. We believe this legislative package will help achieve these goals and thus strongly support its swift passage.” (read the full letter)

National Utility Contractors Association CEO Doug Carlson: “Fixing the broken permitting process used to build our nation’s infrastructure projects should be a top priority for Congress.  Too many of our industry’s projects run into seemingly endless delays caused by uncertain timelines, driving up costs.  The reform package introduced by the Transportation and Infrastructure committee majority will streamline the federal permitting process and deliver predictability to a project's timelines.  All of this legislation should lead to a streamlined federal permitting process, which our industry recognizes is in dire need of reform. Without permitting reform, our members won’t be able to meet project timelines and goals derived from recent federal infrastructure investments if Congress does not fix the permitting process.” (read the full statement)

Power & Communication Contractors Association Chairman Ed Campbell: “PCCA strongly supports this critical package of permitting reform legislation.  America’s current permitting and regulatory structure is holding us back.  Without significant reforms to the permitting process, including the National Environmental Policy Act, vital projects to strengthen the nation’s energy, electricity, and broadband networks will be held back.  Anticipated future buildouts of renewable projects will require significant expansion and modernization of the electric grid, and current NEPA regulations make that a burdensome and impractical prospect.  Furthermore, large-scale broadband projects funded by recent federal investment face significant permitting challenges, which will directly slow the rollout of connectivity to Americans everywhere.  PCCA supports the many provisions in this legislation that will streamline and speed the process in a more efficient and sustainable way while also ensuring that critical projects – including those related to grid expansion and nationwide broadband buildout – are not blocked or significantly delayed without sound justification.”

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President for Policy Marty Durbin: “The Creating Confidence in Clean Water Permitting Act, which includes the Nationwide Permitting Improvement Act, recognizes that entire categories of projects that pose minimal adverse environmental impacts should be expedited.  Modernizing nationwide permits would help improve the process for both applicants and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers by focusing regulatory resources on projects with more significant impact.  The Chamber’s ‘Permit America to Build’ campaign calls on Congress to reduce permitting delays for projects across the country, and we appreciate the leadership of Chairman Rouzer in advancing that important objective with H.R. 7023.” [note: added 3/20/24]

USA Rice Vice President, Government Affairs Jamison Cruce: “America’s rice farmers have long been and remain committed to environmental stewardship and support reasonable, science-based government policies that facilitate the adoption of voluntary conservation efforts.  Costly, duplicative, and overly burdensome regulations under the Clean Water Act offer no environmental or public health protections, but instead threaten our nation’s food security.  USA Rice eagerly supports and encourages the enactment of H.R. 7023, the Creating Confidence in Clean Water Permitting Act.”

Note: H.R. 7023, the Creating Confidence in Clean Water Permitting Act, is comprised of the following five measures that were originally introduced in the House in January 2024 as separate bills: the Nationwide Permitting Improvement Act introduced by Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee Chairman David Rouzer (R-NC); the Reducing Permitting Uncertainty Act introduced by Rep. Pete Stauber (R-MN); the Water Quality Criteria Development and Transparency Act introduced by Rep. Burgess Owens (R-UT); the Judicial Review Timeline Clarity Act introduced by Rep. Eric Burlison (R-MO); and the Confidence in Clean Water Permits Act introduced by Rep. John Duarte (R-CA).