The Biden administration’s goal of combating climate change through incentives in its signature Inflation Reduction Act cannot be accomplished without permitting reform, ConocoPhillips CEO Ryan Lance said at the CERAWeek energy conference in Houston Tuesday, according to Reuters.
Without reforms to the permitting process, developing infrastructure for low-carbon alternatives to oil and gas would be “procedurally impossible,” Lance said, according to Reuters. Several other mining and energy executives made similar comments at the conference Monday, and White House Deputy Chief of Staff John Podesta stressed that the Biden administration considered permits for “clean energy infrastructure” a “top priority,” according to The Washington Post. (RELATED: Electric Vehicle Startups Running Out Of Juice As Demand Lags, Production Stalls)
In exchange for Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia’s vote in favor of the Inflation Reduction Act, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer — then minority leader — promised that the Senate would pass Manchin’s permitting reform proposal. Despite President Joe Biden’s support, the bill ultimately stalled under progressive criticism that it would streamline fossil fuel investments and conservative criticism that it failed to go far enough, E&E news reported.
Lance also said the permitting process for Conoco’s Willow project, a north Alaskan oil drilling operation, had been politicized and “has made very little sense,” according to Reuters. The project was initially approved in 2020 by the Trump administration and has received bipartisan support from Alaskan lawmakers, with the Biden administration expected to issue a ruling on a scaled-down version of the project this week, according to CNN.
John Podesta at CERAWeek conference in Houston:
“We directed the departments and agencies with responsibility for permitting activities on federal land and waters to get together with the White House and finalize a new memorandum of understanding to put transmission fast track.”
— Ben Lefebvre 🏁 (@bjlefebvre) March 6, 2023
“If we don’t get [oil] from Alaska, it’s going to come from someplace,” Lance said, according to Reuters. “It’s going to come from probably someplace else around the world that has less environmental standards than what the state of Alaska has.”
The White House and ConocoPhillips did not immediately respond to a Daily Caller News Foundation request for comment.
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