Reforming the permitting process for infrastructure projects could raise standards of living in America, unlock the full potential of ambitious recent legislation and make us less dependent on hostile foreign nations—all while making manufacturing in the U.S. more competitive, NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons told lawmakers yesterday.
What’s going on: Timmons gave testimony at “Opportunities to Improve Project Reviews for a Cleaner and Stronger Economy,” a hearing of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, where he stressed the need to fix the needlessly time-consuming, complex permitting system.
- “For manufacturers, permitting reform is essential for our ability to compete in the global economy,” he said. “If we want more critical minerals for chip manufacturing, more domestic energy development and transport . . . more manufacturing facilities and jobs back home, better highways, bridges, airports [and] waterways, then we need permitting reform to make them a reality in the near future.”
Cut the wait: There is no reason for projects to take a decade or more to get approval, Timmons said.
- “If Washington could streamline the process—like manufacturers do in our businesses every single day—we could do more for this country,” Timmons continued, citing a White House Council on Environmental Quality report which found that environmental impact statements take an average of four-and-a-half years to complete.
- Timmons noted that in the case of one project, permits “from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers were delayed a year due to the failure of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to complete a required informal consultation under the Endangered Species Act.”
What to do: Timmons urged senators to work together to realize the following manufacturing priorities for permitting reform:
- Consolidated permitting processes with enforceable deadlines
- Fast approvals for transportation infrastructure projects
- A commitment to developing homegrown critical resources
- A moratorium on federal-agency regulations prior to the implementation of current standards
- Congressional assurance that lawmakers will hold the administration to recent and future statutory streamlining efforts
Protecting our values: Leaner, more efficient permitting and a commitment to sustainability and other American values can go hand in hand—and that’s exactly what manufacturers want, according to Timmons.
- “Manufacturers have a deep commitment to environmental stewardship, and we do not believe corners should be cut,” he said. “We believe in protecting our community, our neighbors and our environment. Reform is about . . . ensuring that this country—a democracy rooted in free enterprise—isn’t outpaced or outflanked or overtaken by nations that don’t share our values, don’t respect the environment or don’t recognize the dignity of human rights.”
Washington, D.C. – Ahead of the midterm elections, the National Association of Manufacturers released its policy roadmap, “Competing to Win,” a comprehensive blueprint featuring immediate solutions for bolstering manufacturers’ competitiveness. It is also a roadmap for policymakers on the laws and regulations needed to strengthen the manufacturing industry in the months and years ahead.
With the country facing rising prices, snarled supply chains and geopolitical turmoil, manufacturers are outlining an actionable competitiveness agenda that Americans across the political spectrum can support. “Competing to Win” includes the policies manufacturers in America will need in place to continue driving the country forward.
“‘Competing to Win’ offers a path for bringing our country together around policies, shared values and a unified purpose,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “The NAM is putting forward a plan filled with ideas that policymakers could pursue immediately, including solutions to urgent problems, such as energy security, immigration reform, supply chain disruptions, the ongoing workforce shortage and more. Manufacturers have shown incredible resilience through difficult times, employing more workers now than before the pandemic, but continued resilience is not guaranteed without the policies that are critical to the state of manufacturing in America.”
The NAM and its members will leverage “Competing to Win” to shape policy debates ahead of the midterm elections, in the remainder of the 117th Congress and at the start of the 118th Congress—including in direct engagement with lawmakers, for grassroots activity, across traditional and digital media and through events in key states and districts as we did following the initial rollout of the roadmap in 2016.
The document focuses on 12 areas of action, and all policies are rooted in the values that have made America exceptional and keep manufacturing strong: free enterprise, competitiveness, individual liberty and equal opportunity.
Learn more about how manufacturers are leading and about the industry’s competitiveness agenda at nam.org/competing-to-win.
The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12.8 million men and women, contributes $2.77 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and accounts for 58% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org