WASHINGTON — The White House is releasing a new Permitting Action Plan to accelerate federal permitting and environmental reviews for projects related to the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which President Biden signed into law in November.
According to a White House fact sheet, the action 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.”
The fact sheet continued: “Taken together, these new steps will help strengthen supply chains, lower costs for families, grow our clean energy economy, revitalize communities across the country, support good-paying jobs, and deliver infrastructure investments on task, on time, and on budget without unnecessary bureaucratic delay.”
Key points of the plan include:
- Leveraging the interagency Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council’s expanded authorities under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to improve coordination among agencies, help avoid and resolve potential conflicts and bottlenecks, identifying and sharing best practices and accelerating information sharing and troubleshooting;
- Convening sector-specific teams of experts to facilitate interagency coordination on siting, permitting, supply chain, and related issues and promoting efficient and timely reviews;
- Leveraging the Department of Transportation’s Interagency Infrastructure Permitting Improvement Center to help facilitate environmental review and permitting for Bipartisan Infrastructure Law-funded transportation projects by developing guidance, sharing best practices, coordinating reviews, tracking project milestones and outcomes and exploring innovative approaches;
- Developing and preparing new approaches to permitting and environmental review that help address common issues, eliminating duplication, and site and design projects in a way that reduces resource conflicts and incorporates a climate-smart approach; and
- Working to reform outdated permitting laws and regulations, such as the Mining Law of 1872, to establish stronger environmental, sustainability, safety, Tribal consultation and community engagement standards.
“Long overdue improvements to our nation’s ports, airports, rail, and roads will help ease inflationary pressures, create conditions for businesses to thrive and strengthen supply chains – which will ultimately lower costs for families,” according to the White House fact sheet.
“Building new clean energy generation and transmission projects will improve access to affordable clean energy that powers homes and businesses at lower costs. Responsible and sustainable domestic sourcing of critical minerals and materials will power our clean energy economy and reduce reliance on unreliable foreign supply chains. And delivering clean residential water supplies, high-speed internet, healthy forests and open space to all Americans, especially those historically underserved, is critical to make us stronger.”
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