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Policy Integrity Recommendations Reflected in DOE’s Transmission Permitting Rule

On April 25, 2024, the Department of Energy (DOE) released its final rule under 16 U.S.C. § 824p(h) to expedite the federal authorization of transmission projects. We commented in support of the proposal, including DOE's proposed requirement that project proponents describe how the transmission project would affect power-system greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. We also recommended that DOE clarify certain ambiguous language and declare that project proponents must additionally estimate changes to non-power-system GHG emissions (e.g., upstream emissions of natural gas) and power-system emissions of local air pollutants. In the final rule, DOE retained the requirement to describe power-system GHG impacts and, in response to our recommendation, clarified that the ambiguous language in the proposal does require project proponents to estimate non-power-system GHG emissions and power-system emissions of local air pollutants. This clarification will help ensure that the full emissions impacts of transmission projects are understood early in the permitting process.