Manufacturers Need Permitting Reform
Randy Wolken, President & CEO
New York’s success depends on a robust and competitive manufacturing industry. Some of the biggest obstacles preventing manufacturers from reaching their full potential are permitting delays, red tape, and complicated bureaucracy. As a nation and state, we must modernize our infrastructure and shore up our supply chains. The need for reform is more urgent than ever. Manufacturers in the United States employ 13 million people, adding more than $2.8 trillion to the U.S. economy. In New York, nearly 450,000 are directly employed, and millions of individuals benefit from a strong manufacturing economy.
However, industry can do even more if the permitting process is run efficiently. We need to prioritize and modernize processes to minimize delays that stand in the way of manufacturing projects and job-creating investments. MACNY believes it is critical to make progress with permitting reform. The most crucial areas that need attention include energy infrastructure, transportation networks, resource development, and environmental standards.
Energy infrastructure permitting hurdles delay projects across the energy landscape, including pipelines, electric transmission lines, rail facilities for energy transport, and nuclear facilities. Clean and emerging energy technologies face similar, steep permitting challenges. For example, the siting of infrastructure for hydrogen power generation and transportation and advanced, small modular, and micro-nuclear reactors have progressed too slowly. Manufacturers must have access to dependable, reliable, and affordable energy to expand in New York State. We support reforms that would foster transparent, streamlined, and timely regulatory processes for all types of siting, permitting, and licensing energy delivery infrastructure. With recent announcements of massive tech company expansions throughout the State, we must ensure we invest in the energy infrastructure to support these industries and the public. Our energy distribution system is vital for our economic success.
Transportation network investments must also proceed promptly. Manufacturers rely on roads, rails, airports, and ports for everything from employees’ access to facilities to getting raw materials to shop floors and finished products to customers. Basic infrastructure must be developed before ground can ever be broken on a major facility. Yet obtaining permit approvals for these projects often takes years, especially when reviews are piecemeal and duplicative. We appreciate lawmakers’ drive to manufacture more products in America, but some companies are waiting on the sidelines because transportation infrastructure construction moves too slowly. Passage of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act in 2021 heralded a new era of much-needed improvements to nationwide infrastructure systems. These upgrades, updates, and new projects represent the generational investment needed to keep manufacturers in America competitive in a global marketplace. To ensure these investments’ broad and beneficial impact, it is critical to clear permit backlogs and ease processing timelines. MACNY supports this historic legislation and remains committed to seeing its promise fulfilled.
Manufacturers strongly believe that permitting, leasing, exploring, and developing the nation’s resources must be environmentally sound and responsible. However, unnecessary restrictions to access America’s abundant natural resources hinder our ability to strengthen domestic supply chains. It also makes manufacturers more reliant on raw material imports. Therefore, we need consistent administration of critical mineral policies. Streamlining resource permitting and leasing policies will help stabilize manufacturing supply chains, control costs for consumers, reduce our reliance on foreign countries, and create jobs in the U.S.
Environmental Standards matter greatly to manufacturers. Manufacturers are proud to have helped lead our country to the cleanest air in the modern world. Protecting these achievements by avoiding measures that give a competitive economic advantage to countries with less regard for the environment is essential. Unfortunately, when federal and state agencies continually revise standards before current standards are met and before we have implemented prior mandates, they create unpredictability. That adds to inflationary pressures and can lead to New York losing out on new projects and facilities to other states and countries, undermining our environmental standards’ very goals.
Overly burdensome, shifting regulatory policies affect permitting, licensing, and siting applications because they move the goalposts of compliance with federal and state regulations. If instead, we should make the process more predictable and consolidate the many complex layers of review. As a result, we can continue building on our strong environmental stewardship record by boosting domestic manufacturing, which is environmentally cleaner than international competitors.
MACNY remains committed to working with our state regulatory agencies and members to improve and accelerate permitting. Our work together allows us to take full advantage of the desired increase to make many more products in New York State. There is no better time to advance our Made in U.S. goals and outcomes!