Senate Passes Portman Reforms to Expedite Permitting Process, Create Good Jobs

October 10, 2018 | Press Releases

America’s Water Infrastructure Act Includes Two Portman Permitting Reform Bills Now Ready for the President’s Signature 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) praised Senate passage of the America’s Water Infrastructure Act, which includes two Portman bills to streamline permitting for hydropower projects and create more jobs for local communities across the country and permanently authorize a cost-sharing program to allow expedited review of permit applications with the Army Corps of Engineers for some infrastructure projects. The legislation now heads to the president to be signed into law. 

“Streamlining the federal permitting process will help create more jobs and strengthen our economy, and I’m pleased that these two bills are ready to be signed into law by the president.  It makes sense to streamline the permitting process for hydropower on dams that already exist, especially given that the new facilities will have a minimal environmental impact.  In Ohio alone, there are 44 suitable dams that potentially could benefit from this bipartisan measure.  In addition, the bill also makes permanent the cost-sharing authority for Army Corps projects, which will provide certainty for project sponsors and help speed up the implementation of infrastructure projects. These bills will improve our permitting process and boost our economy, and I look forward to the president signing them into law.” 

NOTE: The America’s Water Infrastructure Act includes two bipartisan permitting reform bills co-authored by Portman, including: 

  • The Promoting Hydropower and Jobs Act (S. 2655) to establish an expedited process for issuing and amending licenses for hydropower development at existing nonpowered dams, which could benefit up to 44 dams in Ohio.
  • Bipartisan legislation (S. 2585) to streamline the federal infrastructure permitting process by making permanent the authority allowing project sponsors to provide funding to expedite the Army Corps of Engineers’ consideration of permits for projects. 

Portman is the author of two other regulatory reform measures, including the Regulatory Accountability Act (S. 955), which he introduced with Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND).  The bill was approved by the Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee on a bipartisan basis last year, and is designed to make federal regulations smarter and more effective so they better support businesses, families, and jobs by modernizing the federal regulatory process that hasn’t been significantly reformed in 70 years.  The second, the Federal Permitting Reform and Jobs Act (S. 3017), was introduced by Portman with Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO).  It improves the federal permitting process for some of the largest infrastructure projects and builds on Portman and McCaskill’s successful legislative effort to streamline this process in 2015.  In 2015, Senators Portman and McCaskill co-authored the Federal Permitting Improvement Act, which Congress ultimately enacted into law as Title 41 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act.  That bill, now known as FAST-41, significantly reformed the federal infrastructure permitting process, while leaving environmental protections in place.