Senator Joe Donnelly has joined Senators Rob Portman of Ohio and Claire McCaskill of Missouri in supporting the Federal Permitting Improvement Act of 2013.
In a conference call, Donnelly said the legislation would improve the permitting process for large infrastructure projects, helping private industry create jobs in Indiana and across the country.
“Part of the way it does that is by streamlining the permitting process, by making it easier for our business community to be able to move forward with projects and to reduce the red tape in similar problems that we have,” Donnelly says.
The bill would set up industry-specific lead-agencies that would deal with energy, transportation and other infrastructure projects worth over $25 million. The agency would serve as a go between for state and federal permitting agencies to make sure there is no redundancy that would hinder project completion.
The bill would also put deadlines in place for permits to be decided upon in a timely fashion, and create an online dashboard where the public could sign on and monitor the progress of a project’s permitting process.
Donnelly says the bill would reduce the statute of limitations for environmental lawsuits from 6 years to 150 days.
“What that does is it says ‘If there’s a problem, let’s get the suit handled, let’s get it decided so that we can have a yes or no, one way or the other as opposed to just an endless delay,” Donnelly says.
The bill would also permit courts to consider potential job loss when considering relief from injunctions.
Donnelly says the bill has bi-partisan support and expects it will receive a hearing in the Senate.