The Debt Ceiling Deal’s Energy Provisions, Explained

The Ira J. Chrisman "Wind Gap" Pumping Station, part of a series of water pipelines that lift water from the California State Aqueduct up through the Tehachapi Mountains and into Los Angeles. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)

Last week’s debt ceiling deal let the U.S. avert an economic crisis. But it also modestly reformed federal permitting laws with an eye toward making it easier for private and public actors alike to build and deploy energy infrastructure.

“What you see is just the lowest-hanging fruit; it’s the least controversial stuff,” Alec Stapp, co-CEO of the Institute for Progress, tells The Dispatch

The fact that permitting reform made it into the bill at all is the latest example of bipartisan interest in hacking away at the red tape that routinely entangles a wide range of projects, from wind farms to natural gas pipelines.

What permitting problems does the Fiscal Responsibility Act address—and what are the prospects for consensus on more comprehensive reforms?

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