The following Federal departments and agencies are members of the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council (FPISC), created by FAST-41 and tasked with improving Federal infrastructure permitting.
Department of Agriculture
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, rural development, nutrition, and related issues based on sound public policy, the best available science, and efficient management.
USDA Rural Development (RD) is committed to helping improve the economy and quality of life in rural America. RD programs help rural Americans by offering loans, grants, and loan guarantees to support essential services such as housing, economic development, health care, first responder services and equipment, and water, electric, and communications infrastructure. RD promotes economic development by supporting loans to businesses through banks, credit unions, and community-managed lending pools and offers technical assistance and information to help agricultural producers and cooperatives get started and improve the effectiveness of their operations and help communities undertake community empowerment programs. USDA is a co-chair of the Broadband Opportunity Council with the Department of Commerce.
The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) preserves national forests and grasslands by requiring special-use authorizations for project proposals seeking rights-of-way or other uses of National Forest system land.
Army Corps of Engineers
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) delivers vital public and military engineering services; partnering in peace and war to strengthen our Nation’s security, energize the economy and reduce risks from disasters.
The USACE Directorate of Civil Works conducts water resource development activities, including flood risk management, navigation, ecosystem restoration, hydropower, recreation, and environmental stewardship, as well as providing emergency response services. Section 14 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899, as amended, and codified in 33 USC 408 (Section 408) provides that the Secretary of the Army may, upon the recommendation of the Chief of Engineers, grant permission to other entities for the permanent or temporary alteration or use of any USACE Civil Works project. USACE regulates work or structures in, over, or under navigable waters of the United States or affecting the course, location, or condition of navigable waters of the United States pursuant to Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899, the discharge of dredged or fill material into U.S. waters, including wetlands, pursuant to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, and the transportation of dredged material for open ocean disposal pursuant to Section 103 of the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act.
Department of Commerce
The Department of Commerce creates the conditions for economic growth and opportunity by promoting innovation, entrepreneurship, competitiveness, and stewardship informed by world-class scientific research and information.
The National Telecommunications & Information Administration is engaged in a range of efforts to increase broadband Internet access and adoption in America, which supports economic growth, job creation, and improved education, health care, and public safety.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is responsible for the stewardship of the Nation’s ocean resources and their habitat, including marine and coastal ecosystems. Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA), NMFS works to recover protected marine species while allowing economic and recreational opportunities. Under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA), NMFS works to ensure compliance with fisheries regulations, including protecting and restoring Essential Fish Habitat (EFH).
The NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS) serves as the trustee for a network of underwater parks including a system of 13 national marine sanctuaries and two marine national monuments managed for the conservation of their natural and cultural resources, and the promotion of sustainable recreation and tourism. The National Marine Sanctuaries Act (NMSA) provides several tools to protect designated national marine sanctuaries, including the ability to issue permits for prohibited activities and the requirement that federal agencies whose actions are “likely to destroy, cause the loss of, or injure any sanctuary resource” consult with ONMS before taking said actions.
Department of the Interior
The U.S. Department of the Interior protects and manages the Nation’s natural resources and cultural heritage; provides scientific and other information about those resources; and honors its trust responsibilities or special commitments to American Indians, Alaska Natives, and affiliated Island Communities.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is to work with others to conserve fish, wildlife, and plants, and their habitats, for the continuing benefit of the American people. USFWS does this in accordance with a number of conservation laws and treaties, including the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. Under the ESA, any Federal agency must ensure that any activities it authorizes, funds, or carries out also conserve imperiled species, so must consult with USFWS to ensure that those activities will not jeopardize the continued existence of a protected species. Consultation results in USFWS issuing biological opinions for those projects that may adversely affect a listed species or a letter concurring with the agency's determination that an action or project is not likely to adversely affect a listed species. If activities or projects could potentially result in harm to a threatened or endangered species, agencies need to seek permits and provide habitat conservation plans (HCPs) to minimize and mitigate the harm.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) administers the Nation’s public lands for multiple uses while conserving natural, historical, and cultural resources for future generations. In collaboration with local, state, and tribal governments, the public, and stakeholder groups the BLM develops Resource Management Plans which ensure the best balance of uses and resource protections for America’s public lands, and form the basis for right-of-way grants and other decisions authorizing use of public land.
The Bureau of Reclamation is a water management agency operating in the western United States that supplies irrigation, municipal, and industrial water and produces hydropower. Its mission is to manage, develop, and protect water and related resources in an environmentally and economically sound manner in the interest of the American public. The Bureau of Reclamation manages a wide variety of Reclamation land, facilities, and waterbodies, consistent with authorized project purposes and appropriate site-specific resource management considerations.
The National Park Service (NPS) reviews applications for permits to pass over, under, or through an NPS-managed area. The NPS must always seek ways to avoid, or to minimize to the greatest extent practicable, adverse impacts on park resources and values. This enables NPS to preserve unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations, as required by statute.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) plays a critical role in securing Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) energy and mineral resources for the Nation. BOEM’s management responsibilities extend over approximately 1.76 billion acres of the OCS and include resource assessments; scientific research; and environmental, economic, and fiscal reviews. BOEM also provides appropriate access to energy and mineral resources; and administers leasing, plan approvals, and lease management throughout the lifecycle of OCS energy projects.
Department of Energy
The mission of the Department of Energy is to ensure America’s security and prosperity by addressing its energy, environmental, and nuclear challenges through transformative science and technology solutions. The Department of Energy works to catalyze the timely, material, and efficient transformation of the Nation’s energy system and secure U.S. leadership in a variety of energy technologies. For instance, the Department of Energy partners with states and other stakeholders to plan more resilient power generation and electricity transmission infrastructure that can better withstand extreme weather events, invests in energy infrastructure, and is working to modernize the Nation’s electric grid.
Department of Transportation
The Department of Transportation (DOT) oversees policies and programs that contribute to ensuring a fast, safe, efficient, accessible, and convenient transportation system that meets vital national interests and enhances the quality of life of the American people today, and into the future. DOT strives to make 21st Century investments in our transportation system through 21st Century delivery mechanisms by modernizing permitting and project delivery processes.
In order to accelerate economic growth and improve the competitiveness of the American economy, DOT seeks to streamline permitting and approval processes while protecting safety and the environment. Through the recently created Infrastructure Permitting Improvement Center (IPIC), DOT focuses on activities such as expanding and deploying the Permitting Dashboard and providing assistance to project sponsors, consistent with new requirements in the FAST Act. Other DOT activities include supporting codification of the agency’s “Every Day Counts” initiative—required by the FAST Act— which helps to identify, accelerate, and deploy proven innovations that shorten the project delivery process and improve safety and environmental sustainability; providing support to innovative project financing mechanism through the Build America Bureau; and promoting best practices in environmental streamlining via resources such as the 2015 Red Book on interagency coordination.
Department of Defense
The Department of Defense (DOD) is America's oldest and largest government agency, whose mission is to provide the military forces needed to deter war and to protect the security of our country. DOD's Siting Clearinghouse was established in 2010 and is the DOD's single point of contact for Federal agencies, State and local governments, developers, and landowners for timely, transparent, and science-based analysis to identify impacts from energy development projects on military readiness and operations.
Environmental Protection Agency
The mission of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is to protect human health and the environment. EPA accomplishes its mission by a variety of research, monitoring, standard setting, and enforcement activities. EPA also coordinates and supports research and activities to protect human health and the environment by State and local and tribal governments, private and public groups, individuals, and educational institutions.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is an independent agency that assists consumers in obtaining reliable, efficient, and sustainable energy services at a reasonable cost through appropriate regulatory and market means. In fulfilling its mission, FERC regulates the development of safe, reliable, secure, and efficient infrastructure that serves the public interest. FERC’s jurisdictional authority in this regard encompasses the construction of non-federal hydropower projects, liquefied natural gas terminal facilities, and interstate natural gas pipelines and storage projects.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is an independent agency with the mission to ensure adequate protection of public health and safety, promote the common defense and security, and protect the environment by regulating the Nation's civilian uses of nuclear fuels and materials. In undertaking this mission, the NRC oversees nuclear power plants, non-power reactors, nuclear fuel cycle facilities, waste disposal, and the industrial and medical uses of nuclear materials. The NRC carries out its mission as defined in the Atomic Energy Act and other applicable laws through licensing, inspection, and enforcement measures. There are currently approximately 100 commercial nuclear power reactors licensed to operate in the United States, which generate about 20% of our Nation’s electrical use.
Department of Homeland Security
The vision of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is to ensure a homeland that is safe, secure, and resilient against terrorism and other hazards where American interests, aspirations, and way of life can thrive. DHS oversees both the U.S. Coast Guard (see description and links below) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency , which has responsibility for coordinating the Federal government’s disaster recovery efforts and supporting states and localities in disaster preparedness and resilience planning.
Within DHS, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) has a unique mission encompassing maritime safety, security, and environmental stewardship. Of note for infrastructure projects, the USCG administers bridge permits , reviewing the location and plans of bridges and causeways that cross navigable U.S. waters per the requirements of the General Bridge Act of 1946 and Section 9 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899.
Department of Housing and Urban Development
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD's) mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers, meet the need for quality affordable rental homes, utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life, build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination, and transform the way HUD does business. HUD’s role in infrastructure development is mainly related to working toward the goal that all American homes and communities are adequately served by residential infrastructure resources , such as power and water systems and broadband service. For instance, HUD supports community planning for resilient infrastructure and infrastructure restoration during disaster recovery, most recently by leading the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force .
Advisory Council on Historic Preservation
The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) is an independent Federal agency that promotes the preservation, enhancement, and sustainable use of our Nation's diverse historic resources, and advises the President and the Congress on national historic preservation policy. Specifically, ACHP oversees the implementation of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act to ensure that Federal agencies consult with interested parties to identify and evaluate historic properties, assess the effects of Federal actions on historic properties, and attempt to negotiate an outcome that will balance project needs and historic preservation values.
Office of Management and Budget
The core mission of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is to serve the President of the United States in implementing his/her vision across the Executive Branch. OMB reports directly to the President and helps a wide range of executive departments and agencies across the Federal Government to implement the commitments and priorities of the President. In addition to serving as a member of the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council and issuing guidance to agencies upon the recommendation of the Executive Director, OMB is responsible for several specific responsibilities under Title 41 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST-41), including facilitating resolution of disputes over permitting timetables.
Council on Environmental Quality
The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) coordinates Federal environmental efforts and works closely with agencies and other White House offices in the development of environmental policies and initiatives. CEQ was established within the Executive Office of the President by Congress as part of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 and additional responsibilities were provided by the Environmental Quality Improvement Act of 1970. Specifically, CEQ ensures Federal agencies meet their obligations under NEPA and oversees NEPA implementation, primarily through issuing guidance and interpreting regulations that implement NEPA’s procedural requirements. CEQ also reviews and approves Federal agency NEPA procedures, approves alternative arrangements for compliance with NEPA for emergencies, and helps to resolve disputes between Federal agencies and with other governmental entities and members of the public. In addition to serving as a member of the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council and issuing guidance to agencies upon the recommendation of the Executive Director, CEQ is responsible for several specific responsibilities under Title 41 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST-41), including resolving disputes over designation of a facilitating or lead agency for a covered project.