From E&E News:

Sen. Joe Manchin this week pulled back a permitting proposal that would have authorized the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to permit certain long-distance power lines — a major change for the independent agency…

With the package no longer moving forward, it’s still important for lawmakers and others to consider whether the current framework for siting transmission lines makes sense, experts said.

One approach could be to give FERC or some other federal entity the ability to suggest transmission projects or identify transmission needs, but then direct states to try to implement a solution, said Devin Hartman, director of energy and environmental policy at the R Street Institute, a think tank that promotes free markets and limited government.

That could help get needed transmission built without necessarily trampling on states’ rights or worrying environmental justice advocates who don’t want excessive infrastructure in disadvantaged communities, Hartman said.

“That gets the states to automatically come to the table and play nice,” Hartman said. “To say, ‘States, if you act in good faith and take a good first crack at this, this will get done on your terms,’ I think that’s a way to split the divide a little.”

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