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Do NEPA and Other Permitting Requirements Doom Green Energy and Infrastructure Plans?

May 14, 2021

Friday, May 14, 2021

12:00-1:00 p.m. ET

You can view the video recording below. 

The pervasiveness and broad sweep of NEPA and other federal (and state) permitting requirements have long been the subject of criticism by commercial developers and even average property owners engaged in small-scale development projects.  They claim that the costs in time, money, and other resources that permitting schemes’ procedural and substantive restrictions impose unreasonable and unfair costs or prove prohibitive, forcing individuals to forgo economically and socially beneficial projects.

Others claim that these hurdles are merely prudent look-before-you-leap measures necessary to protect environmental and other social resources and to control against harms that may be imposed by projects.  They claim that going too fast and without restrictions is dangerous, and the delays and costs—including lost opportunities—suffered by these requirements are necessary and can be justified to achieve environmental and other social goals.

Now, however, new questions regarding the social costs of permitting are being raised as these same NEPA and other regulatory regimes threaten to block, delay, or dramatically increase the costs of major infrastructure and green energy projects being proposed in congressional bills and through presidential initiatives.   The same laws that apply to major commercial development projects will apply to these new governmental projects.  If the government projects get exempted, should claims of hypocrisy abound?  Or, if these permitting laws get applied to these infrastructure and green energy projects, will those projects be doomed to delay and failure or can they navigate the permitting labyrinth and still provide the social gains their supporters promise?

Our balanced panel of experts debated those questions in this webinar co-sponsored by two academic centers at the George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School—the Law & Economics Center’s Congressional Civil Justice Academy and the C. Boyden Gray Center for the Study of the Administrative State.

The discussion featured the following panel of distinguished experts:

  • Mario Loyola, Senior Fellow, Competitive Enterprise Institute
  • Andrew A. Rosenberg, Director of the Center for Science and Democracy, Union of Concerned Scientists
  • Moderator: Adam White, Assistant Professor and Executive Director, The C. Boyden Gray Center for the Study of the Administrative State, George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School


May 14, 2021