• Mon. May 27th, 2024

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Federal Permitting Reform Can Bolster Our Economy While Protecting Wildlife and Communities

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Congressional reform of federal permitting and review programs presents an important need to balance conservation, community, and the economy.

Several proposals for federal permitting reform are circulating in Congress, including a discussion draft introduced today by Senate Environment and Public Works Chair Tom Carper (D-DE).  Audubon believes this moment is an important opportunity for decision-makers to craft policy solutions that foster rapid deployment of clean energy and climate-resilient infrastructure, but not at the expense of communities and our lands, waters, and wildlife.

“We believe that it’s possible to build up our nation’s clean energy infrastructure and protect birds, people, and the places we all depend on,” said Felice Stadler, vice president of government affairs at National Audubon Society. “This is a time to make thoughtful improvements to the tools we have so that our economy, communities, and our environment all thrive. Reforms must protect fundamental safeguards for clean water and air, public health, wildlife and habitat, and ensure the rights of communities to meaningfully engage in the decision-making process.”

Common Loon, copyright Mark S Szantyr, from the surfbirds galleries

Birds tell us that we need to take action on climate change. New science has revealed the loss of 3 billion birds in North America since 1970 and that two-thirds of North America’s birds are at risk of extinction due to climate change. Audubon believes that an essential way to ensure their future is by deploying responsibly sited clean energy across the United States.

“We are encouraged that the reforms included in this discussion draft will help protect wildlife habitat by preferencing the development of clean energy infrastructure on already developed land, and protect communities by including critical environmental justice review provisions and stressing the importance of meaningful early public engagement – important steps in the right direction,” added Stadler. “We have an imperative to get this right, and look forward to working with Congress as this debate progresses.”

You can read more about our approach to clean energy here.