America’s CEOs Detail Comprehensive Reforms to Expedite Federal Permits, Put America Back to Work | Business Roundtable


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Washington – Business Roundtable (BRT) today urged the Obama Administration and Congress to act swiftly on comprehensive reforms to streamline the federal permitting process, expedite the permitting of major projects and put Americans back to work.

BRT's call for action comes as the Administration's May 31 deadline looms for federal agencies to develop and submit plans to speed federal permitting.

In its Permitting Jobs and Business Investment: Streamlining the Federal Permitting Process report, BRT calls upon the Administration to:

  • Designate a single agency to have primary permitting responsibility for each project;
  • Ensure that permits are processed by multiple agencies in parallel;
  • Catalog the inventory and status of pending permits by agency and program;
  • Work with business to develop best practices for prompt and timely evaluations; and
  • Create a public online permit-tracking dashboard that would track the dates and status of all federal permit applications across agencies.

BRT calls upon Congress to:

  • Provide adequate resources for permit processing;
  • Require that permits be issued in 180 days; and
  • Put in place a more stringent process for judicial review of federal permits, including imposing a 180-day statute of limitations, clarifying that challengers must satisfy bond requirements, as is the case with other federal suits, and establishing that permanent injunctions are impermissible in all but the most extraordinary of circumstances.

“America’s CEOs are calling for a smarter approach to issuing federal permits,” said Andrew Liveris, Chairman and CEO of The Dow Chemical Company.  “Too many permits are required from too many agencies and that is costing America jobs.  A smarter, more streamlined system would eliminate unnecessary and unproductive delays without compromising regulatory goals.” 

The federal government’s permitting process is fraught with complexity, redundancy and uncertainty — resulting in a hostile business environment that discourages capital investments and slows job creation. The way permits are administered does not fit today’s dynamic economy.  The Shell Oil Company waited five years – idling thousands of U.S. jobs and more than $2 billion worth of drilling leases – to obtain an air emissions permit for offshore operations near the coast of Alaska.  There was no public policy issue at stake.  Most of the permits were granted earlier this year without dispute.  The delay, which resulted in withheld jobs for American workers, is largely attributable to inefficiency and a lack of transparency.

“America is suffering under the weight of an irrational, costly and inefficient federal permitting system that is stifling economic growth and job creation,” said John Engler, President of Business Roundtable. “Permitting Jobs and Business Investment presents a smart approach to help lift that weight, streamline the permitting system and ultimately put more Americans back to work.”

Today’s report is part of a broader BRT reform effort.  In March, as part of their plan to boost job creation and economic growth, BRT CEOs called upon the Administration to withdraw or modify eight proposed or pending regulations that CEOs identified as particularly costly and burdensome to business.  BRT CEOs also flagged dozens of additional regulations, listed on BRT’s website – – that could add costs and slow business expansion.  BRT CEOs have presented BRT’s regulatory reform ideas to the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, and BRT has held numerous meetings with Administration officials, Members of Congress and their staffs.

BRT is pleased that the President has taken initial steps through the issuance of several Executive Orders that, if fully implemented, will help improve the permitting process and provide greater coordination among agencies.  BRT believes, however, that much more remains to be done to fully achieve a smarter, more accountable and more efficient federal permitting system.   

Click here to view BRT’s Permitting Jobs and Business Investment: Streamlining the Federal Permitting Process report.

Click here to view BRT’s one-page overview of Permitting Jobs and Business Investment: Streamlining the Federal Permitting Process.