Business and Economics

Donnelly Supports Federal Permitting Bill

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August 1, 2013 — An Indiana Senator has put his support behind a bill aimed at streamlining the permitting process for infrastructure projects. As Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Jimmy Jenkins reports, the legislation would also significantly reduce the time period when people can legally challenge large-scale developments.

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 will create a better environment for job creation.

 “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 more than $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 approved, and create an online dashboard where people could monitor the progress of the review 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.”   
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.  For Indiana Public Broadcasting, I’m Jimmy Jenkins, in Bloomington.


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