Permitting Council Press Office (email@example.com)
WASHINGTON (October 11, 2023) – The Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council (Permitting Council) today announced the allocation of nearly $155 million from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to aid federal agencies in increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of infrastructure permitting review and authorizations. Today’s announcement is part of $350 million for the Permitting Council and $1 billion total for federal agency permitting activities over ten years that was included in President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act—the largest climate investment in history and a core pillar of Bidenomics.
In order to strengthen energy security and meet President Biden’s ambitious goals of building infrastructure and deploying clean energy to cut emissions by 50 to 52 percent by 2030 and reaching 100% clean electricity by 2035, it’s essential that the U.S. is able to complete projects on time, on task and on budget. That means having the resources to conduct effective and efficient environmental reviews and issue permits.
From hiring permitting experts to acquiring vital tools and resources, this funding will allow agencies to take significant steps to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the federal infrastructure permitting process, meet review timelines, and advance predictability of decision timing, to build critically needed infrastructure projects across the nation. Today’s announcement is the latest step the Biden-Harris Administration is taking to use every tool at our disposal to advance effective, efficient, and transparent federal permitting while ensuring strong environmental protections and meaningful community engagement, in alignment with President Biden’s Permitting Action Plan.
“The Inflation Reduction Act provided the Permitting Council with important resources, enabling us to provide targeted support where it is needed most to ensure that we can expeditiously build vital infrastructure that will create jobs, build our clean energy economy and increase U.S. economic competitiveness,” says Eric Beightel, Permitting Council Executive Director. “With these funds agencies will be equipped like never before to handle the oftentimes heavy workload of permitting review. The Permitting Council is working to make sure that agencies have the tools needed to ensure an effective, efficient, and accountable process for every infrastructure project, including those covered under FAST-41. This shows us what is possible when the Permitting Council has the funding necessary to support critical environmental reviews and approvals.”
“Accelerating permitting—especially for transmission—is critical if we are to unleash the full potential of America’s clean energy economy,” said John Podesta, Senior Advisor to the President for Clean Energy Innovation and Implementation. “Today’s announcement builds on the Biden-Harris administration’s whole-of-government approach to speed up permitting.”
Funding will be provided to assist agency project reviews in sectors that are covered under the FAST-41 statute, including renewable energy generation, broadband, semiconductors and transmission. Funds will also be used to facilitate consultation and community engagement, and in the creation of tools, technology and data to support long-term benefits for multiple sectors. Agencies receiving assistance include:
● U.S. Department of Agriculture/Forest Service
● U.S. Department of Agriculture/Rural Development
● U.S. Department of Commerce/National Telecommunications and Information Agency
● U.S. Department of Commerce/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
● U.S. Department of Commerce/National Institute of Standards and Technology
● U.S. Department of Homeland Security
● U.S. Department of the Interior/Bureau of Indian Affairs
● U.S. Department of the Interior/Bureau of Land Management
● U.S. Department of the Interior/Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
● U.S. Department of the Interior/Fish and Wildlife Service
● U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
● Advisory Council on Historic Preservation
Agencies will periodically share progress, results, and best practices to identify how the funding is benefitting project timelines and environmental review and permitting processes.
About the Permitting Council and FAST-41
Established in 2015 by Title 41 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST-41), the Permitting Council is a federal agency charged with improving the transparency and predictability of the federal environmental review and authorization process for certain critical infrastructure projects. The Permitting Council is comprised of the Permitting Council Executive Director, who serves as the Council Chair; 13 federal agency council members (including deputy secretary-level designees of the Secretaries of Agriculture, Army, Commerce, Interior, Energy, Transportation, Defense, Homeland Security, and Housing and Urban Development, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Chairs of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation); and the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget.
The Permitting Council coordinates federal environmental reviews and authorizations for projects that seek and qualify for FAST-41 coverage. FAST-41 covered projects are entitled to comprehensive permitting timetables and transparent, collaborative management of those timetables on the Federal Permitting Dashboard. FAST-41 covered projects may be in the renewable or conventional energy production, electricity transmission, energy storage, surface transportation, aviation, ports and waterways, water resource, broadband, pipelines, manufacturing, mining, carbon capture, semiconductors, artificial intelligence and machine learning, high-performance computing and advanced computer hardware and software, quantum information science and technology, data storage and data management, and cybersecurity sectors.