Established in 2015 by Title 41 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST-41), the Permitting Council is a unique Federal agency charged with improving the transparency, predictability, and outcomes of the Federal environmental review and authorization process for certain large-scale 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 additional council members, the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget.
The Permitting Council coordinates all Federal environmental reviews and authorizations for infrastructure projects in the conventional energy production, renewable energy production, electricity transmission, surface transportation, aviation, ports and waterways, water resource, broadband, pipelines, manufacturing, mining, and carbon capture sectors that meet certain criteria. The FAST-41 process seeks to maximize predictability and positive environmental and community outcomes through:
- Coordinated agency action in developing and implementing comprehensive permitting timetables
- Coordinated establishment of public and Tribal outreach strategies
- Meaningful project sponsor engagement
- Identification and implementation of best practices
- Dispute resolution services
- Posting and maintaining transparent, publicly-accessible permitting timetables on the Federal Permitting Dashboard