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VIEWPOINT: Time to fast-track green energy projects

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The AFL-CIO represents over 12.5 million workers across the country. We support legislation that encourages the creation of good jobs, invests tax dollars in infrastructure projects and improves the lives of workers. Here in Delaware, we represent more than 38,000 hardworking men and women who build our nation’s infrastructure.

James Maravelias

Delaware AFL-CIO President James Maravelias | DBT PHOTO BY JACOB OWENS

We pride ourselves on labor’s contributions to building America and putting our country to work on basic infrastructure projects like our roads and bridges. But as we continue to innovate, we need to also invest in more clean energy infrastructure projects. 

Investing in infrastructure projects will enhance safety nationwide while generating and sustaining quality jobs. But many of these jobs are threatened and simply aren’t available because of our permitting system. As a labor union leader, I am concerned about the state of permitting processes governing crucial infrastructure projects.

It is evident that our outdated and convoluted permit system hinders progress and stifles economic growth. Clean energy employment opportunities will stimulate economic growth and benefit workers across various industries. I strongly advocate for comprehensive permit reform to address the pressing needs of our members and the broader workforce.

I urge policymakers to look to our own U.S. Sen. Tom Carper as he recently announced his support for expediting the review process for environmental-friendly infrastructure projects. This is an important and positive step forward as we continue to see the need to reform. In his announcement, Carper highlighted that accelerating the review process would help create good-paying jobs.

Infrastructure projects are the backbone of a prosperous society, driving economic activity, creating jobs, and improving the quality of life for all citizens. However, the current permit system imposes unnecessary delays, and excessive costs, impeding the timely completion of vital infrastructure initiatives. These hurdles harm our economy and prevent us from addressing urgent infrastructure needs effectively.

Permitting requirements have only been inefficient leading to delays, increased project costs, diminished public trust and most importantly, hinder job growth and opportunity. By simplifying and expediting permit approvals, we can unleash the potential of our skilled workforce, foster innovation, and stimulate economic development. It is essential to strike a balance between environmental protection and job creation, ensuring that permits are granted in a timely manner while upholding high safety standards.

It is time for policymakers to recognize the urgency of permit reform and work collaboratively with labor unions to create a more responsive and equitable system that benefits both workers and the economy as a whole.

James Maravelias is the president of the Delaware AFL-CIO.

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