Interagency Plan Works to Improve Coordination, Collaboration and Transparency in the Infrastructure Permitting Review Process
Permitting Council Press Office (Media@fpisc.gov)
WASHINGTON (May 11, 2022)- Today, the White House announced the Biden-Harris Permitting Action Plan, outlining a transformative change in the way Federal infrastructure projects are permitted, providing a roadmap for agencies to deliver on the once-in-a-generation upgrades outlined in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). From modernizing our manufacturing and electricity transmission sectors to advancing renewable energy production and broadband access, this Action Plan further cements the value of the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council (Permitting Council) in helping Federal agencies accomplish the ambitious and critical goals set by this Administration to equitably address climate change while creating good-paying American jobs.
“The Permitting Action Plan will revolutionize the way that the Federal government approaches the permitting process, working to deliver on the generational investments in America’s infrastructure and competitiveness detailed in the BIL,” says Christine Harada, Executive Director of the Permitting Council. “This action plan showcases why the coordination, collaboration and transparency embedded into the work of the Permitting Council will improve the process and outcome of infrastructure projects across the Federal government.”
To make the most of the historic investments in infrastructure contained in the BIL, the Biden-Harris Administration is releasing a new Permitting Action Plan to strengthen and accelerate Federal permitting and environmental reviews. The Plan outlines the Administration’s strategy for ensuring that Federal environmental reviews and permitting processes are effective, efficient, and transparent, guided by the best available science to promote positive environmental and community outcomes, and shaped by early and meaningful public engagement. Taken together, these new steps will help grow our clean energy economy, revitalize communities across the country, lower costs for families, support the creation of good-paying jobs, and ensure infrastructure investments are mobilized in a timely and sound way, without unnecessary bureaucratic delay.
The Permitting Action Plan is built on five key elements that will help ensure the timely and effective delivery of crucial improvements to America’s infrastructure:
- Accelerating smart permitting through early cross-agency coordination;
- Establishing clear timeline goals and tracking key project information;
- Engaging in early and meaningful outreach and communication with States, Tribal Nations, territories, and local communities;
- Improving agency responsiveness, technical assistance and support; and
- Adequately resourcing agencies and using the environmental review process to improve environmental and community outcomes.
The work of the Permitting Council is at the core of the Permitting Action Plan, as the Administration directs Federal agencies to leverage the Permitting Council and its expanded authorities under the BIL to improve coordination among agencies, to help avoid and resolve potential conflicts and bottlenecks before they emerge, to identify and share best practices, and to accelerate information sharing and troubleshooting. BIL-funded projects that qualify for FAST-41 coverage will be featured on the Federal Permitting Dashboard, allowing for a coordinated and transparent method for outlining infrastructure project timeline goals and milestones
Learn more about the Permitting Action Plan here. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2022/05/11/fact-sheet-biden-harris-administration-releases-permitting-action-plan-to-accelerate-and-deliver-infrastructure-projects-on-time-on-task-and-on-budget/
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, predictability, and outcomes 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.
If an infrastructure project meets the criteria established in FAST-41 and a project sponsor requests coverage, the Permitting Council coordinates the Federal environmental reviews and authorizations to maximize the predictability and transparency of the process, without shortcutting the important legal protections that yield positive environmental and community outcomes. These projects are 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.