In a series of prior blog posts, we previously highlighted the historic implications of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) for the U.S.’s international climate commitments, as well as for private companies navigating the energy transition. Shortly after our series published, the Senate passed the IRA on Sunday August 7th with only minor modifications to the bill’s $369 billion in climate and clean energy spending. Today, the House passed the IRA without any further changes, and soon hereafter President Biden is expected to sign it into law.
However, this is only the beginning of the road; the IRA will have sweeping implications beyond the four corners of its pages. In the coming months and years, we expect to see intense jockeying over agency rulemakings that will shape the IRA’s implementation, as well as determine its ultimate success as an energy policy.
I. Congressional Permitting Reform
As an initial matter, it seems Congress has not finished its work revamping the nation’s climate and energy laws. As part of his agreement to support the IRA, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) announced that “President Biden, Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi have committed to advancing a suite of commonsense permitting reforms this fall that will ensure all energy infrastructure, from transmission to pipelines and export facilities, can be efficiently and responsibly built to deliver energy safely around the country and to our allies.” While the exact contours of this legislation are not currently known, Senator Manchin’s office recently released a legislative framework, which includes proposals to, among other things: