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Senate GOP's permits marker

Senators Shelly Moore Capito and John Barrasso

Capito and Barrasso in 2021. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Senate Republicans unveiled a suite of leasing and environmental law reforms today, the latest marker in the Hill permitting fight.

Why it matters: The Senate will take the lead on any bipartisan permits bill that has a shot at becoming law. Republicans see these proposals as fodder for negotiations with Democrats.

Driving the news: Shelley Moore Capito and John Barrasso dropped two bills that cover environmental law reforms the GOP has been talking about for years.

  • Taken together, they resemble something like H.R. 1, the House GOP's wide-ranging permits and energy proposal.
  • Capito's RESTART Act is a reintroduction of legislation she rolled out last year — to an unenthusiastic response from Senate Democrats.
  • It would set a two-year shot clock for the most in-depth National Environmental Policy Act reviews and put time limits on lawsuits.
  • It also hits territory that will be more toxic across the aisle: authorizing the Mountain Valley Pipeline, curbing states' power under section 401 of the Clean Water Act, and prohibiting agencies from using social cost of greenhouse gas estimates.

Barrasso's legislation, the SPUR Act, would mandate regular onshore oil and gas lease sales via Interior and expedite reviews for LNG projects.

  • It puts a big focus on mining, lifting the 2016 coal leasing moratorium and designating uranium as a "critical mineral."

The big picture: Bipartisan talks have already started — but the two parties still don't agree on the finer points of "permitting reform."

What we're watching: There's plenty of chatter about attaching a permits bill to a debt ceiling deal, but that deadline is fast approaching.

  • "We can be a lot quicker here than what most people would think, simply because we have been in negotiations for a long time on this," Capito told reporters this morning.
  • And Barrasso said, "The debt ceiling is not a make-or-break moment for this."
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