Dems’ Energy Permitting Reform Bill Includes Billions For Eco-Activist Groups

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Will Kessler Contributor
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A Democrat-backed permitting reform bill unveiled in December would hand out billions in grants for eco-activist nonprofits to conduct environmental reviews on green government projects.

Nonprofit organizations, localities and Native American tribes would be able to apply for $500 million in grants each fiscal year starting in 2024 through 2029, as a part of the Clean Electricity and Transmission Acceleration (CETA) Act, which aims to streamline the permitting process for green energy projects, expand transmission lines to facilitate energy transfers and accelerate the green energy transition. Environmental groups have sought to stymie a number of Biden administration green energy projects, including plans for offshore wind development and further use of carbon capture technology. (RELATED: Biden Admin Rolling Out Stove Regulation After Insisting It’s Not Trying To Ban Gas Stoves)

The CETA Act was proposed by Illinois Democratic Rep. Sean Casten and California Democratic Rep. Mike Levin, co-chairs of the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition Clean Energy Deployment Task Force.

President Joe Biden’s green transition has faced other slowdowns, including the rollout of electric vehicle (EV) chargers. Despite allocating $7.5 billion for charger construction and upgrades as a part of the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, only two stations have been built, with regulations and union worker requirements stalling progress.

The Biden administration allocated roughly $370 billion to combat climate change in the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, pouring funds into subsidies for electric vehicles, wind turbines, solar panels, batteries and more.

Environmental activists have also sought to halt offshore wind developments along the Atlantic seaboard after a number of whales were found dead along the coast, sending a letter to Senate Democrats in December 2022 requesting a stop to operations.

Environmental groups and local tribes in Arizona filed a suit in January against the Department of the Interior to stop the construction of a $10 billion transmission line project to connect energy produced on wind farms to areas as far away as California, according to the Public Broadcasting Service. The suit argues that the proposed area of construction has historical significance.

The government of New Jersey joined a suit in October 2023 with environmental groups and the fishing industry, seeking to stop the construction of an offshore wind energy farm, arguing that the federal government did not consider environmental consequences or follow certain laws when approving the project, according to PBS.

“Our Clean Electricity and Transmission Acceleration Act will support the responsible buildout of transmission and renewables, while strengthening environmental protections and bringing impacted communities to the decision-making table,” Levin said in a statement. “I look forward to working with my colleagues to make these necessary investments to improve the resilience of our grid and ensure all Americans have access to clean, affordable energy.”

Casten’s office did not immediately respond to a request to comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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