CEQ chair defends permitting rule to angry Republicans

By Kelsey Brugger | 05/17/2024 06:42 AM EDT

Council on Environmental Quality Chair Brenda Mallory defended the administration’s actions at a House hearing.

Brenda Mallory.

Council on Environmental Quality Chair Brenda Mallory on Capitol Hill on Thursday. Natural Resources Committee/YouTube

Council on Environmental Quality Chair Brenda Mallory defended new Biden permitting rules to Republican lawmakers Thursday as the larger debate around the subject intensifies.

Time and again at a hearing of the Natural Resources Committee, Mallory insisted the White House was well within the law when it issued last month final National Environmental Policy Act standards, which are intended to speed permits while also taking heed of climate change and marginalized communities. A bipartisan group of lawmakers are seeking to overturn the action.

“I just want to say we believe the rule fully implements the [Fiscal Responsibility Act],” she said, referring to the debt limit deal brokered last year between the House GOP and the White House. “Almost provision by provision, almost word for word.”


Mallory’s appearance comes as the prospects for a wider permitting overhaul in Congress have dimmed. Earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) declared that, in the face of Federal Energy Regulatory Commission work on grid transmission, a deal on permitting was “virtually impossible.” Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chair Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has insisted that talks are still alive.