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Federally Recognized Tribes Receive Groundbreaking Investment to Aid in FAST-41 Covered Infrastructure Project Permitting Reviews

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Permitting Council Press Office (

WASHINGTON (December 1, 2022)- The U.S. Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council (Permitting Council) announces the allocation of $5 million in funding to be made available to Federally recognized Tribes in order to enhance Tribal engagement in the permitting review and authorization process for FAST-41 covered projects. These funds are an initial investment from the Permitting Council’s $350 million dollar Inflation Reduction Act funding and are a significant step in realizing the once-in-a-generation infrastructure goals of the Biden-Harris administration.

“Ensuring that Tribal Nations have the resources needed to assist in identifying potential, natural, archeological, and cultural resources and locations of historic and religious significance is key in the environmental review and permitting process,” says Christine Harada, Permitting Council Executive Director. “As we all work together to realize the goals of the Biden-Harris administration’s historic investment in our nation’s infrastructure, it is a priority to make sure that Tribal Nations have every tool available to make sure that the permitting review process is inclusive.”

Tribal review of projects seeking Federal environmental permitting approval are a key element to the permitting review and authorization process, yet Tribes often face capacity issues such as limited staffing and funds to provide technical input on planned projects. Segmented reviews of single projects, spanning across multiple agency jurisdictions and areas of oversight, can create lengthy, time-consuming review processes that demand significant time and resources from Tribes. Increasing Tribal capacity to participate in the environmental review and authorization process is critical to ensuring our Nation is building sound infrastructure and these funds will assist Tribes in obtaining the expertise and resources needed.

In order to assess the scope of needs and develop criterion for transferring funds, the Permitting Council is inviting Tribes to engage in Nation-to-Nation consultation. The feedback given during consultation will assist the Permitting Council in developing the criteria of eligible activities and capacity building tools that can be funded.

The Permitting Council will evaluate the need for further Tribal funding after further consultation with Tribes. To learn more about the Permitting Council, please visit the website.

About the Permitting Council

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 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, 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. 


Last updated: Thursday, December 1, 2022