Permitting Council Press Office (email@example.com)
WASHINGTON (September 29, 2023) – Today, the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council (Permitting Council) Executive Director released the fiscal year 2023 third quarter report assessing Federal agencies’ compliance with FAST-41. The report showcases a period of growth and stability for agencies implementing FAST-41, with increased conformance to FAST-41 requirements, along with indicators of areas for continued improvement.
“In this first quarterly report of my tenure as Permitting Council Executive Director, I am proud to share the progress we’ve made and the opportunities ahead of us as we continue to implement the FAST-41 statute,” says Eric Beightel, Permitting Council Executive Director. “This report is an important tool in holding ourselves and our agencies accountable, and supporting continuous improvement in the federal permitting and authorization processes for critical infrastructure projects.”
The Permitting Council helped oversee 30 active FAST-41 covered projects during the third quarter, with the majority of the projects in renewable energy-related sectors. Two new projects received coverage during this time, including the first critical minerals mining project--the South32 Hermosa Critical Minerals project-- and the portfolio’s second broadband project--the Alaska FiberOptic Project Segment 1. Two projects completed the federal permitting process during the quarter, including the Alaska LNG Pipeline Project, and the Mountain Valley and Equitrans Expansion Project, which was approved as part of the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023.
The third quarter report highlights a number of federal agency accomplishments and areas for improvement, including:
● Agencies met coordinated project plan establishment requirements, including interagency consultation requirements, for all six applicable projects on the Dashboard.
● Agencies satisfied coordinated project plan review and update requirements for all 26 applicable projects on the Dashboard.
● There were 47 federal agency milestones with completion anticipated during the reporting period. Of those, agencies completed 15, and extended nine in accordance with the FAST-41 process.
● For the other 23 Federal agency milestones whose completion was anticipated during the reporting period, the agencies provided explanations for missed completion dates and completed monthly status reports as required by FAST-41 approximately 93 percent of the time. Those explanations and reports are available on the Federal Permitting Dashboard, which the Permitting Council maintains.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act) requires the Permitting Council Executive Director to submit quarterly reports to Congress evaluating agency compliance with the provisions of FAST-41. The quarterly report is now available on the Permitting Council website.
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 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, 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.